- MPC members grilled by MPs, sound dovish tone
- Iraq tensions, German data weigh on sentiment
- Cable falls to 1.6969
techMARK 2,809.07 -0.68%
FTSE 100 6,787.07 -0.20%
FTSE 250 15,547.21 -0.82%
UK stocks erased early gains and ended the session slightly in the red as investors digested dovish comments from Bank of England policymakers and disappointing economic data from Germany.
Markets were also keeping a close eye on developments in Iraq after US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Kurdish leaders not to abandon the country in the face of ongoing battles with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as ISIS).
The FTSE 100 traded 0.2% lower to 6,787, after having hit an intraday high of 6,824.45 early on.
Monetary Policy Committee members including Governor Mark Carney sounded a dovish tone in front of the Treasury Select Committee today, as MPs grilled policymakers on the economic outlook and the first potential rise in interest rates. Carney in particular said that rate hikes would be "limited and gradual", but softer-than-expected wage increases meant that there was more spare capacity in the labour market than initially thought.
"We must make sure that the economy absorbs wasteful spare capacity before we start normalising interest rates [...] Average weekly earnings were softer than our expectation and add to a run of hard data that has been softer than expected," he said.
The above may come as at least a temporary relief to the country's exporters, with cable finishing lower by 0.35% at 1.6969.
Also weighing on stocks was the IFO Institute's headline German business climate index fell from 110.4 to 109.7 in June, worse than the 110.3 consensus estimate. The current assessment and expectations indices also came in lower than expected which "adds to signs that the recovery in the Eurozone's largest economy might already be nearing a peak", according to Jennifer McKeown, Senior European Economist at Capital Economics.
Acting as a backdrop, new US home sales expanded at an annualised pace of 504,000 in May, in comparison to a revised clip of 425,000 units in the prior month (consensus: 439,000).
IAG and easyJet lead gains
IAG and easyJet flew higher as they rebounded from losses seen yesterday following a controllers' strike in France and threats of strikes over pay by IAG's UK carrier British Airways.
Bid target Shire, which last week rejected a £27bn approach from US pharmaceutical outfit AbbVie made gains today after yesterday setting out its defence to shareholders with its 10-year strategic plan. Credit Suisse was providing a lift this morning, saying: "We believe ABBV will need to step in at a higher price in order to get the deal done."
Domino Printing, which develops inkjet, laser and thermal printing products, reported double-digit underlying growth in the first half, but warned that progress may be limited next year, causing shares
to drop sharply this morning. Chairman Peter Byrom said he is "cautious about prospects for the business in 2015" and that results next year would be broadly flat.
Sports Direct finished in the red as the group continues to face the backlash from investors over its plans to award founder Mike Ashley under a new share-based bonus scheme. Fund managers are believed to be planning to vote against the scheme and, according to various reports, have called for a vote to take place early next month.
Specialist chemicals company Croda International fell after saying that second-quarter pre-tax profits would be around 8% below its first quarter and full-year profit to be lower than the previous year as a strong pound continues to weigh on earnings.
Heading the other way was chip designer Imagination Technologies after a drop in annual profits wasn't as bad as feared. The company also said the demand for its Ensigma communications technology is "accelerating [...] driven by the emerging trends in the Internet of Things and home connectivity", as it continues to face a slowdown in the core smartphone market.
Broker downgrades weighed on a number of heavyweight stocks this morning; supermarket giant Tesco was cut to 'neutral' by Exane BNP Paribas; while utilities providers United Utilities and Severn Trent were both hit by a Goldman Sachs ratings cut to 'neutral'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
easyJet (EZJ) 1,479.00p +3.94%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,404.00p +2.35%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 386.80p +1.82%
British Land Co (BLND) 687.00p +1.63%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,028.00p +1.48%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,628.00p +1.37%
Pearson (PSON) 1,134.00p +1.34%
Hammerson (HMSO) 568.00p +1.16%
Next (NXT) 6,395.00p +1.03%
Royal Mail (RMG) 496.50p +0.83%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 827.00p -3.16%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 720.00p -3.03%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,619.00p -2.89%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 482.20p -2.82%
IMI (IMI) 1,482.00p -2.24%
Friends Life Group Limited (FLG) 304.00p -2.00%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,032.00p -1.99%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,878.00p -1.83%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,223.00p -1.77%
CRH (CRH) 1,553.00p -1.65%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 251.50p +7.71%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 303.50p +2.29%
DCC (DCC) 3,436.00p +2.26%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,050.00p +2.14%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 312.70p +1.96%
Debenhams (DEB) 69.55p +1.38%
Evraz (EVR) 91.20p +1.33%
Informa (INF) 489.10p +1.24%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 235.00p +1.21%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 991.50p +1.17%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 615.00p -16.67%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,188.00p -9.06%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,165.00p -5.33%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 95.45p -4.93%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 762.50p -3.30%
NMC Health (NMC) 445.60p -3.13%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,376.00p -3.10%
SIG (SHI) 181.00p -2.90%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 132.90p -2.64%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 1,042.00p -2.62%