Mining stocks were under pressure as commodity prices declined with precious metals peers Fresnillo and Randgold tracking gold and silver lower early on. As well, in a research note issued today analysts at Citi wrote that: "We remain underweight the gold and base metals stocks and our least favoured name among the large-cap miners is Anglo American." Acting as a backdrop, November manufacturing sector purchasing managers´ survey results in China, the Eurozone and the US all came in better than forecast on Monday. However, Capital Economics and Unicredit both pointed out some signs in the data of a possible future slowdown in Chinese manufacturing. Be that as it may, gold futures
were down by 1.79 per cent to 1,225 dollars per ounce on COMEX.
Supermarket giant Tesco was a heavy faller today after analysts at HSBC cut their recommendation for the stock from 'neutral' to 'underweight'. They said that Tesco's current margin targets are unlikely to be maintained and that forecasts will have to be reset, as they slashed their target price for the shares
from 400p to 340p.
Other listed supermarkets Morrison and Sainsbury were also trading in the red today after discount grocer Lidl announced plans to more than double the number of stores it has in the UK. Ronny Gottschlich, UK Managing Director of the German brand, said that the UK grocery market is entering a "new era" as Lidl aims to expand to 1,500 stores, up from around 600 stores currently.
Meanwhile, Lloyds Banking Group was a strong riser after it confirmed that Lord Blackwell, who has been a Non-Executive Director of the group since June 2012, will succeed Sir Winfried Bischoff as Chairman with effect from April 3rd 2014, when Sir Winfried is due to retire. On Friday Investec highlighted how under the proposed changes to FLS Lloyds will now be able to borrow at a 25 basis point spread (previously up to 150 basis points).
TUI Travel and IAG rose higher as investors grew hopeful of cheaper fuel costs.
Although falling initially, Centrica was up by the afternoon, despite Deutsche Bank cutting its rating from 'buy' to 'hold' on the back of its announcement it would reduce the average consumer bill by £53 a year.
Sports Direct shares rose after Numis Securities reiterated its 'add' rating for the clothing and equipment retailer.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 78.78p +1.78%
TUI Travel (TT.) 371.50p +1.14%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 368.00p +0.46%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,334.00p +0.43%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,724.00p +0.41%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 741.00p +0.34%
Compass Group (CPG) 924.00p +0.33%
Capita (CPI) 1,000.00p +0.30%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,300.00p +0.21%
Centrica (CNA) 338.90p +0.18%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 797.50p -4.26%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,198.00p -3.41%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 395.80p -2.85%
Mondi (MNDI) 977.00p -2.79%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,315.00p -2.52%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 258.90p -2.49%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,707.00p -2.34%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,238.00p -2.21%
Meggitt (MGGT) 488.90p -2.04%
Tesco (TSCO) 341.10p -1.97%