- Ukraine turmoil continues as clashes turn deadly
- Investors cautious ahead of four-day weekend
- US corporate earnings in focus
- Barclays rises as investors look forward to strategic update
techMARK 2,679.96 +1.07%
FTSE 100 6,625.25 +0.62%
FTSE 250 15,907.91 +1.03%
UK stocks finished the day moderately higher on Thursday ahead of the long weekend, as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continued to intensify and with many traders absent from their desks ahead of the bank holiday.
The FTSE 100 ended the day 0.62% higher at 6,625.25.
Even so, a cautious note was clearly evident in different market observers' notes and commentaries ahead of earnings reports from a raft of US blue chips later on, including banking heavyweights Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and bellwethers PepsiCo and General Electric.
Talks in Geneva between the US, Russia and Ukraine and the EU were being closely watched by global financial markets today, as reports of heightened tensions along the eastern border of Ukraine continue to worry world leaders.
Three pro-Russian protesters were reportedly killed in a clash last night with Ukrainian authorities at a military installation in the southeast of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the Kiev government of committing "a serious crime" by sending in troops to Ukraine's east to remove Russian separatists.
Market Strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital said that the violence is "a worrying prospect for market participants who so far have dealt with the geopolitical tensions in good character on the notion that this crisis is mostly a war of words between the West and Russia".
Barclays rises as traders look forward to strategic update
The share price of Barclays rose strongly on Thursday amid speculation the bank could announce thousands of further job cuts in its investment banking division as part of a corporate shake-up. Barclays released a statement today which announced that it would update shareholders next month on its strategy "to deliver improved and sustainable returns and growth for shareholders". The bank said this would include a "positioning" of the investment bank.
Year-to-date organic revenue growth at Diageo has been held back by a sales decline in the third quarter due to weakness across many emerging markets, causing shares
to drop this morning. The company, famous for brands such as Captain Morgan, Smirnoff and Guinness, said that organic net sales fell by 1.3% in the three months to March 31st.
Guidance from French spirits maker Remy Cointreau also hit stocks in the beverages sector, after it said that full-year operating profit would drop by 35-40% due to weakness in China. UK-listed SABMiller traded lower today.
RSA Insurance gained after selling off its Baltics and Polish businesses as newly-appointed Chief Executive Stephen Hester attempts to turn around the embattled insurer.
Royal Dutch Shell edged higher following an exploration discovery offshore Malaysia. The Rosmari-1 well, located 135km offshore in Block SK318, encountered more than 450 metres of gas column after being drilled to a total depth of 2,123 metres.
Fashion group Burberry pulled back after a solid rise the day before after Credit Suisse said it expects profit growth to "take a break" this year. "As much as we like Burberry's superior long-term top-line story, we see group margins under pressure in the next two years, which should put a lid on the shares," the bank said.
Sentiment in the luxury sector was also dampened by a profit warning from handbag and accessories maker Mulberry, its fourth in two years.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ARM Holdings (ARM) 976.50p +4.77%
Schroders (SDR) 2,559.00p +4.24%
Whitbread (WTB) 4,055.00p +3.97%
Barclays (BARC) 246.50p +3.77%
BAE Systems (BA.) 389.10p +3.48%
ITV (ITV) 186.20p +3.44%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 407.70p +3.16%
St James's Place (STJ) 781.00p +3.03%
Aberdeen Asset (ADN) 436.80p +2.87%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 374.80p +2.68%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Diageo (DGE) 1,829.00p -3.74%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 828.50p -2.07%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 314.00p -2.06%
Fresnillo (FRES) 868.00p -1.81%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,440.00p -1.77%
Tesco (TSCO) 289.70p -1.40%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,782.00p -1.00%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 867.50p -0.91%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 769.50p -0.71%
G4S (GFS) 242.10p -0.70%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 91.10p +9.17%
Britvic (BVIC) 747.00p +5.51%
Countrywide (CWD) 637.00p +5.46%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 350.20p +4.85%
RPC Group (RPC) 631.50p +4.38%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 1,383.00p +4.30%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 171.10p +4.27%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,640.00p +4.14%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 315.60p +4.06%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 372.90p +4.05%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Diploma (DPLM) 668.50p -2.27%
Debenhams (DEB) 79.40p -1.98%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 225.00p -1.96%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 234.00p -1.93%
Greencore Group (GNC) 254.40p -1.93%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 218.00p -1.80%
Rank Group (RNK) 158.40p -1.68%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 523.00p -1.60%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 657.00p -1.57%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 97.50p -1.56%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
NCC Group (NCC) 186.50p +9.06%
Skyepharma (SKP) 223.00p +6.70%
Filtronic (FTC) 39.75p +1.27%
Dialight (DIA) 949.00p +0.96%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 134.25p +0.85%
Kofax Limited (DI) (KFX) 456.00p +0.72%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 18.00p +0.70%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 900.00p +0.56%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 128.00p +0.39%
Ricardo (RCDO) 671.50p +0.22%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
RM (RM.) 143.00p -4.59%
Torotrak (TRK) 19.75p -3.66%
DRS Data & Research Services (DRS) 27.50p -1.79%
SDL (SDL) 314.25p -1.64%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,589.00p -0.69%
Optos (OPTS) 173.75p -0.64%
Anite (AIE) 82.25p -0.30%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 185.68 -0.20%
Sepura (SEPU) 135.00p -0.18%
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 117.00p -0.11%