- Markets pare early losses
- Weak Chinese data weighs on mining stocks
- FOMC minutes prompt some rate hike fears
- First rise in Bank rate could come before elections
techMARK 2,876.09 +0.02%
FTSE 100 6,812.99 +0.24%
FTSE 250 16,368.83 +0.13%
UK markets managed to recoup early losses following a weaker than expected reading on Chinese manufacturing overnight. Contributing to the selling was the central bank of China's decision to drain £5.89bn of funds from money markets, its second intervention in the week.
Despite the above the benchmark seven day repurchase rate slipped by seven basis points to 3.68%.
As well, Kathleen Brooks, Research Director at Forex.com, said the Chinese figures may not be as bad as one might think. She pointed out how of late, on the whole, Chinese data had in fact been surprising to the upside. Thus, Citi's economic surprise index for the country was now in positive territory and at its highest since October, she added.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up by 0.24% at 6,813, paring initial losses which saw it hit an intraday low of 6,732.03 early on.
The HSBC/Markit 'flash' China manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for February fell further into contraction, slipping to 48.3 from 49.5; analysts had expected no change.
Also pressuring stocks, Wall Street slipped overnight as markets continued to digest the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting. At the January 28-29th meeting, the central bank re-affirmed its commitment to continue tapering stimulus in "measured steps" - in what in general terms seemed to be a relatively dovish set of minutes - despite the recent weak readings on the US economy.
However, some policymakers even suggested raising interest rates "relatively soon". That, as some traders explained to Sharecast, was "new [information]".
The Eurozone composite PMI also failed to impress, falling to 52.7 from 52.9 in February, surprising analysts who had expected a small increase to 53.1.
Investors were also keeping an eye on the ongoing political instability and protests in Thailand, Venezuela and in particular Ukraine.
First rise in Bank rate possible before elections
Lastly, and back in the UK, the Monetary Policy Committee's Martin Weale was cited by Sky News as having said that the first increase in the Bank rate could come before the next elections "if average earnings rose more quickly than expected in the coming months".
He reportedly also cast doubt on the MPC's estimate of the amount of spare capacity in the economy - of between 1-1.5%. That means that he is not as optimistic as the rest of his colleagues as to how fast the economy can grow without stoking inflation unduly, or on how long interest rates can be held as low as the others on the MPC believe.
That is because of the comparably low salaries which many of those who would like to work would earn, he explained to SkyNews.
William Hill, Centrica, Playtech advance
William Hill was higher after both Goldman Sachs and Exane BNP Paribas upgraded their ratings on the stock to 'buy' and 'outperform', respectively.
British Gas owner Centrica gained despite saying market conditions in 2014 are set to remain challenging amid political pressure to lower energy prices.
Military hardware manufacturer BAE Systems slumped after reporting a 3% increase in operating profits to £1.9bn for 2013, but warned that profits next year could fall by up to 10% on the back of pressures on US government spending.
Packaging group Rexam dropped after missing analysts' estimates slightly with its 2013 results. The company underwhelmed after saying it expected to make "further progress" in 2014, but only on a constant currency basis.
FTSE 100 mining peers Fresnillo, Anglo American, Randgold, Glencore Xstrata and Rio Tinto were all trading in the red after the Chinese data. FTSE 250 groups Vedanta, Polymetal and African Barrick Gold also suffered heavy losses.
On a positive note, Petrofac surged after the oilfield services firm won a £1.2bn contract from BP to build a gas processing facility in Oman.
Playtech jumped as it reported a rise in annual earnings as the gaming software development company signed two landmark deals with Ladbrokes to revamp the bookmarker's digital offering until 2017. Canaccord Genuity pointed out the multiples on which the shares
are trading (FY14 EV/Ebitda of 11.6x and a PER of 15.6x) but said that it "offers the attractions of technology leadership in a structural growth market, with a substantial net cash position, which we expect to be used to drive value enhancing acquisitions."
FTSE 100 - Risers
William Hill (WMH) 356.20p +3.01%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 229.60p +2.80%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,360.00p +2.26%
Centrica (CNA) 320.60p +2.10%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,967.00p +1.78%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,966.00p +1.71%
SSE (SSE) 1,420.00p +1.50%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,437.00p +1.41%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,328.00p +1.35%
Hammerson (HMSO) 576.00p +1.23%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BAE Systems (BA.) 400.40p -8.33%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,321.00p -2.29%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 386.00p -2.28%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,554.00p -2.20%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 340.45p -2.13%
Rexam (REX) 515.00p -1.81%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,317.00p -1.57%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,390.00p -1.42%
GKN (GKN) 408.30p -1.31%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,786.00p -1.07%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Playtech (PTEC) 785.00p +5.94%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 165.10p +5.43%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 191.20p +5.29%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 64.70p +4.19%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,461.00p +2.93%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 746.50p +2.89%
Hunting (HTG) 820.00p +2.76%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,184.00p +2.51%
IP Group (IPO) 214.10p +2.49%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 935.00p +2.41%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Vedanta Resources (VED) 858.00p -5.71%
Essentra (ESNT) 845.00p -5.48%
Hays (HAS) 135.50p -2.94%
Polymetal International (POLY) 641.00p -2.88%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 340.70p -2.85%
Keller Group (KLR) 1,245.00p -2.81%
Cobham (COB) 287.10p -2.68%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 160.00p -2.44%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.26 -2.34%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 50.45p -2.32%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Sarossa Capital (SRC) 1.62p +13.64%
Promethean World (PRW) 37.75p +11.03%
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 122.00p +3.61%
Ark Therapeutics Group (AKT) 0.47p +2.17%
Anite (AIE) 88.75p +2.01%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 126.00p +1.20%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 128.75p +1.18%
Optos (OPTS) 204.75p +0.99%
NCC Group (NCC) 209.00p +0.97%
Innovation Group (TIG) 33.75p +0.75%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 16.00p -3.03%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 1,054.00p -2.77%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 3.17p -2.31%
Kofax Limited (DI) (KFX) 476.75p -1.70%
Dialight (DIA) 765.00p -1.35%
RM (RM.) 147.50p -1.01%
Torotrak (TRK) 21.25p -0.58%
Skyepharma (SKP) 184.00p -0.54%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 183.06 -0.32%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,745.00p -0.29%