US consumer confidence data lit a small fire under equities in the afternoon session, after a drab morning in which leading shares
moved mostly sideways.
The Conference Board's measure of US consumer confidence rose more than expected in September to its highest level in seven months.
M&A activity: real and imagined
Rumours that Singapore investment fund Temasek has sounded out potential buyers for its £6bn stake in Standard Chartered sapped support for the emerging markets focused bank.
Analysts at Credit Suisse were not alone in noting that this story had done the rounds before, though they also observed that the recycled nature of the reports does not prevent them from being true. According to Credit Suisse, Temasek has been trying to shift away from financials towards commodities and other sectors, while at Standard Chartered's annual general meeting this year they did not support the elections of all the executive directors; given the prominence of the stake for Temasek this could be interpreted as a negative indicator of their expectations for the group.
Engineering group Weir was also the subject of some mergers & acquisitions (M&A) speculation, with Oriel Securities putting US industrial holdings company General Electric in the frame as a possible buyer.
Diageo was wanted after it confirmed it is in talks about taking a stake in Indian rival United Spirits.
Carnival on an even keel
Carnival was buoyant after an admittedly mixed trading update. The cruise operator, still trying to recover from the reputational damage caused by the sinking of the Costa Concordia sinking in January, posted a year-on-year decline in net revenue yields for the third quarter to the end of August despite continuing strength in fleet-wide booking volumes and pricing trends since June.
The firm has had to cut prices to get people back on board with the idea of cruise holidays. Third quarter income before taxes was flat year-on-year at $1,336m but ahead of expectations.
Cash-strapped travel group Thomas Cook Group has agreed to sell and lease back an office property in Belgium to Koramic Real Estate. Under the terms of the agreement, Thomas Cook will receive a cash consideration of €12.3m with an additional €2.0m retained by Koramic as a pre-payment of rent.
Miners had another bad day, although scandal-hit Bumi was an exception. The FTSE 250 miner said its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had resigned from his current role as non-executive director following the launch of a probe into 'irregularities' at its Indonesian business. The firm said Ari Hudaya, who was CEO until March and is also president director of PT Bumi Resources, the focus of the investigation, had resigned from the board with immediate effect.
The "urgent" probe into PT Bumi Resources, in which the company has a 29% interest, is focusing on the firm's development funds
Elsewhere in the sector, Xstrata announced production had begun ahead of schedule at its Lady Loretta zinc mine in north-west Queensland, Australia. The mine was originally supposed to start production at the end of 2013, but first deliveries of zinc-lead-silver ore to the company's Mount Isa processing plant are now set to begin later this month.
Commodities trader Glencore International scrapped its previous plans to increase its stake in Kazzinc, the Kazakhstan zinc producer, and came up with a new one which will see the cash component of the transaction lowered.
Verny Capital has agreed to sell Glencore an 18.91% stake in Kazzinc, which will increase Glencore's holding to 69.81%. At its flotation last year Glencore said it was targeting an increase in its stake to 93% for £1.975bn in cash plus shares. The new terms imply paying less cash in exchange for the increased stake. The company will now pay up to £863m - in shares and cash - to raise its stake.
As equity markets advanced in the afternoon session, so gilts saw the morning's gains disappear. The yield on the benchmark 10-year gilt was more or less unchanged ont he day at 1.82%.
On the futures market, the price of Brent crude was back on the rise. The main contract was up 115 cents at $110.96 a barrel.
The price of gold was up $9.80 to $1,774.40 an ounce.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,813.00p +4.14%
Carnival (CCL) 2,343.00p +3.40%
Hammerson (HMSO) 459.00p +2.18%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 585.00p +2.18%
Diageo (DGE) 1,757.00p +1.91%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 752.00p +1.83%
Old Mutual (OML) 176.20p +1.79%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 777.50p +1.77%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,319.00p +1.62%
Tesco (TSCO) 343.10p +1.61%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Evraz (EVR) 250.20p -4.32%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 323.50p -2.15%
Glencore International (GLEN) 346.80p -2.08%
Xstrata (XTA) 980.00p -1.98%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,714.00p -1.81%
BAE Systems (BA.) 329.00p -1.67%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,456.00p -1.65%
CRH (CRH) 1,213.00p -1.38%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,066.00p -1.20%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,017.00p -1.17%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bumi (BUMI) 168.10p +13.89%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 603.00p +3.34%
Unite Group (UTG) 253.60p +3.09%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 202.80p +2.37%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,634.00p +2.06%
PayPoint (PAY) 750.00p +2.04%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 304.10p +2.01%
William Hill (WMH) 321.10p +2.00%
UBM (UBM) 716.50p +1.99%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 1,481.00p +1.93%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 40.06p -6.84%
IP Group (IPO) 125.60p -2.56%
Pace (PIC) 164.00p -2.56%
SIG (SHI) 102.10p -2.48%
Soco International (SIA) 340.80p -2.38%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 37.03p -2.30%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 117.30p -2.25%
Homeserve (HSV) 219.80p -2.09%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 157.80p -1.74%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 452.50p -1.61%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 2.61p +6.10%
Filtronic (FTC) 44.00p +6.02%
Optos (OPTS) 190.50p +4.96%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 73.50p +2.08%
Ricardo (RCDO) 385.00p +1.78%
Innovation Group (TIG) 20.25p +1.25%
Psion (PON) 86.75p +0.87%
Vectura Group (VEC) 83.50p +0.60%
RM (RM.) 80.73p +0.29%
Corin Group (CRG) 56.00p 0.00%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Antisoma (ASM) 1.53p -9.47%
Skyepharma (SKP) 93.00p -4.86%
Emblaze Ltd. (BLZ) 48.00p -2.04%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 992.50p -1.44%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 17.25p -1.43%
Vislink (VLK) 30.12p -1.23%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 206.00p -1.08%
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 148.00p -1.00%
CML Microsystems (CML) 311.50p -0.64%
NCC Group (NCC) 914.00p -0.57%