- Diageo slumps after H1 miss, BSkyB jumps
- Economic data comes in mixed
- Fed cuts monthly asset purchases by 10bn dollars
- Emerging-market volatility continues to weigh on sentiment
techMARK 2,780.43 +0.45%
FTSE 100 6,538.45 -0.09%
FTSE 250 15,701.80 +0.09%
UK markets finished slightly lower on Thursday after another choppy session as investors showed caution following recent policy changes from across the globe amid continuing emerging-market volatility.
Central banks in Turkey, India and South Africa have all moved to tighten policy in recent days in an attempt to quell a weakening of their currencies in the face of slowing growth in China and a withdrawal of stimulus in the States. However, the positive effects of the rate hikes were short-lived yesterday as the downward pressure on the lira, rupee and rand failed to abate.
These concerns with heightened overnight after the Federal Reserve cut its monthly asset purchases by a further $10bn to $65bn despite some suggestions that the recent developing-nation turmoil could have prompted it to hold off.
Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets, said that companies across Europe with particular exposure to emerging markets were hit today as they "as investors wake up to the possibility that the recent rate hikes in these various markets are quite likely to prompt a slowdown in these parts of the world".
The FTSE 100 closed 5.83 points lower at 6,538.45; it has not closed below this level since December 18th 2013.
Chinese manufacturing, US GDP
A barrage of economic data from across the globe gave traders another reason to tread cautiously today. Things got off to a poor start this morning after revised figures from China confirmed that activity in its manufacturing contracted in January.
Markets largely shrugged off mixed data closer to home which showed a fall in German unemployment to a one-year low and a less-than-expected increase in UK mortgage approvals.
However, stocks picked up off their lows before the close this afternoon following a strong start on Wall Street as the Commerce Department revealed that US gross domestic product growth was 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013. While this represented a slowdown from the 4.1% expansion in the third quarter, the two periods combined showed the best back-to-back increase in growth in nearly two years.
Diageo drops on emerging-market weakness
Heading the other way was spirits manufacturer Diageo, which took a hit from weakness in emerging markets as it revealed that global sales growth was limited to just 1.8% in the first half, below analysts' forecasts.
Precious metal miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources were also falling heavily as gold and silver prices retreated.
Leading the upside was satellite broadcaster BSkyB after an 8% rise in revenue in the first half, helped by strong growth in paid-for subscription products. The company also increased the interim dividend by 9%.
Airline groups IAG and easyJet were both strong risers this afternoon. easyJet was in part helped higher by reports its ski traffic had jumped 20% in the past five years.
Investors at oil major Royal Dutch Shell showed their approval of the company's decision to undergo a major restructuring to boost capital and cut costs after it reported a sharp fall in fourth-quarter earnings.
Shares in Serco plunged after the group issued a profit warning in which it predicted that 2014 profits would fall as much as 20% short of the £277m that the market had expected. The support services group said it now expected 2013 revenue to fall by a mid-single digit percentage.
Engineering firm Renishaw gained after it said it is expecting an improvement in trading activities and revenue in the second half following a weak start to the year.
FTSE 100 - Risers
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 878.00p +3.97%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 418.70p +3.84%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 795.00p +2.38%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,184.00p +2.33%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,637.00p +2.12%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,514.00p +2.09%
ITV (ITV) 201.80p +2.07%
Royal Mail (RMG) 602.00p +2.03%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 347.40p +1.82%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 83.55p +1.79%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Diageo (DGE) 1,820.00p -4.71%
G4S (GFS) 237.70p -3.73%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,560.00p -3.17%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,411.00p -2.82%
BG Group (BG.) 1,008.50p -2.56%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,142.00p -2.20%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,260.50p -2.10%
Fresnillo (FRES) 767.00p -1.86%
Experian (EXPN) 1,039.00p -1.80%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,753.00p -1.73%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Rank Group (RNK) 136.00p +6.25%
Homeserve (HSV) 327.00p +5.08%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 534.00p +4.60%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,299.00p +4.51%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,875.00p +4.22%
RPC Group (RPC) 598.00p +3.64%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,053.00p +3.64%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 297.30p +3.52%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 935.50p +2.80%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 374.50p +2.74%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Serco Group (SRP) 423.20p -16.94%
Lonmin (LMI) 311.00p -5.30%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 171.50p -4.19%
Perform Group (PER) 235.00p -3.96%
Polymetal International (POLY) 579.50p -3.50%
Evraz (EVR) 86.00p -3.21%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 874.00p -2.89%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 312.50p -2.56%
Rotork (ROR) 2,505.00p -2.45%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 216.60p -2.43%