- FTSE closes modestly higher
- Investors pause ahead of tomorrow's Fed meeting
- Aggreko leads risers, Tullow is biggest faller
techMARK 2,640.77 +0.06%
FTSE 100 6,725.82 +0.07%
FTSE 250 15,428.79 -0.41%
The FTSE ultimately ended the session higher, albeit marginally, tracking some modest gains on the S&P 500
in the US and despite some less-than-impressive data ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting which begins tomorrow.
The Fed is expected to announce after the meeting that it will keep its monthly $85bn bond buying programme unchanged and maintain the interest rate at 0.25%. Economists predict the Fed will hold off on a tapering of quantitative easing until March 2014.
In the UK, helping stocks inch higher was the news consumer credit rose in October for the first time since the recession, boosted by an improvement in confidence. According to a study by the EY ITEM Club, consumers are more prepared to take on credit than they have been in the five years since the crisis, helping to drive the economy towards improvement. The news indicates confidence in job security and UK economic prospects as a whole.
Also providing a boost was the announcement that average UK asking house prices rose 0.5% in October on the previous month, boosted by higher buyer demand and a decline in the supply of houses. Hometrack, the property tracking firm, said Monday that the increase matched that seen in September, and represents the ninth monthly climb in prices. On the year, average prices were up 3.1%, up from 2.4% the prior month.
Begbies Traynor reported a decline in levels of 'critical' financial distress amongst UK businesses. The group's Red Flag Alert research, which looks at UK corporate financial health, saw a 2% fall in the number of businesses experiencing this level of financial trouble, which follows a 9% decline in the previous quarter.
However, the UK CBI's reported sales balance dropped precipitously in October, to a reading of +2 from +34 (Consensus: +32).
US data fails to impress
Disappointing US reports on factory production and home sales dragged most European stocks lower on Monday.
Factory output eased to rise 0.1% in September after a revised 0.5% increase in August as the partial government shut-down halted manufacturing. It missed forecasts for a 0.3% jump.
Total industrial production advanced 0.6% in September after a 0.4% gain a month earlier as higher temperatures drove up electricity use. The consensus estimate was for a gain of 0.4%.
US pending home sales slowed slightly to grow 1.1% in September compared to a rise of 2.8% and market forecast for a 3.5% increase.
Aggreko tops leaders on full year expectations
Temporary power group Aggreko climbed into the top spot after it said it expected full year profits to be in line with market expectations despite the absence of a one-off lift from the London Olympics.
Also on the rise was Randgold Resources after boss Mark Bristow said the miner is exploring further opportunities in Cote d'Ivoire. Randgold owns and operates Côte d'Ivoire's largest gold mine at Tongon, which has achieved more than 600,000 ounces of gold since it started production at the end of 2010.
Investors also welcomed the news that security giant G4S has rejected a £1,550m offer from Charterhouse Capital Partners for its cash solutions business, saying that that the proposal "fundamentally undervalues the business and its prospects" and on the basis of its "strategic importance" to the company as a whole.
Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca was another strong riser following an upgrade from Bank of America, whose Analyst, Sachin Jain, upgraded the stock from 'underperform' to 'neutral'. Sector peer GlaxoSmithKline was also making decent gains.
Meanwhile, InterContinental Hotels Group was firmly lower after it disappointed investors with the news that its revenue per available room (RevPAR) for its US and Americas brands in the nine months ended September 30th grew 4.5%, driven predominantly by a 2.9% increase in rates.
Tullow Oil was also in the red after it temporarily suspended all operations in Block 10BB and Block 13T in Northern Kenya due to labour unrest. The company said its decision to suspend exploration and appraisal operations was taken to prevent further escalation of strikes while it tries to resolve the issue.
Barclays was leading the banking sector lower, with Lloyds and RBS also registering losses. RBS is making headlines today ahead of its expected re-launch this week - reforms are expected to include the splitting of the lender into a 'good bank' and a 'bad bank'.
Shire gained following a 10% price target upgrade out of analysts at Citi, while GKN fell after JP Morgan lowered its view on automakers to neutral from overweight, given that they are the best-performing sector this year.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Aggreko (AGK) 1,608.00p +6.00%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,851.00p +4.57%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,301.00p +1.62%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,422.00p +1.48%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,814.00p +1.37%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,082.00p +1.31%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,624.50p +1.25%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,833.00p +1.11%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,520.00p +1.08%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,166.00p +0.95%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,823.00p -2.25%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 957.00p -2.20%
GKN (GKN) 364.10p -2.18%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,300.00p -2.18%
Barclays (BARC) 263.25p -1.74%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,224.00p -1.53%
BG Group (BG.) 1,237.00p -1.40%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,101.00p -1.26%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 345.60p -1.17%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,263.00p -1.15%
FTSE 250 - Risers
EnQuest (ENQ) 135.60p +2.34%
Greencore Group (GNC) 179.00p +2.29%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,176.00p +2.26%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 908.50p +2.25%
Booker Group (BOK) 149.70p +2.11%
Playtech (PTEC) 760.50p +1.94%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 1,996.00p +1.78%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,542.00p +1.65%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,050.00p +1.59%
AZ Electronic Materials SA (DI) (AZEM) 282.00p +1.48%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 136.90p -6.49%
Countrywide (CWD) 560.00p -4.27%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 113.60p -3.81%
esure Group (ESUR) 232.70p -3.60%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 502.00p -3.46%
ITE Group (ITE) 306.90p -2.91%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 759.50p -2.88%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 282.90p -2.72%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 121.30p -2.57%
Premier Oil (PMO) 339.30p -2.42%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Puricore (PURI) 50.50p +8.60%
Vislink (VLK) 48.75p +3.72%
Kofax (KFX) 370.00p +2.92%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 2.67p +2.88%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,601.00p +1.97%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 128.00p +1.59%
Anite (AIE) 87.50p +1.16%
Innovation Group (TIG) 32.00p +0.79%
RM (RM.) 117.50p +0.75%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 890.00p +0.56%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 145.00p -10.49%
Ricardo (RCDO) 589.00p -6.36%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 18.25p -1.35%
Torotrak (TRK) 27.38p -0.91%
Optos (OPTS) 158.25p -0.63%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 144.00p -0.35%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 146.50p -0.34%
SDL (SDL) 255.00p -0.29%
NCC Group (NCC) 159.00p -0.16%