- Greek aid agreement expected next week
- Trading expected to be light tomorrow
- Johnson Matthey tumbles six per cent after gloomy outlook
The FTSE 100 opened on the back foot on Wednesday morning after the initial disappointment regarding a delay in funds to Greece; however comments by Eurozone officials throughout the day lifted the mood in the afternoon, pushing the index back into positive territory by the close.
Equity markets Stateside started the session with moderate gains ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Volumes on European markets are expected to be very light in the absence of US trading tomorrow.
The Eurogroup on Tuesday night was unable to thrash out an agreement on how to finance a two-year extension in Greece's commitments. "I don't know when [the aid disbursements] will happen," said Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker after the meeting in Brussels. "Greece has delivered, now it is up to us."
Market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets said: "Disappointment appears to have been tempered somewhat by expectations that EU leaders will, in the final analysis, agree something next week on November 26th, and ultimately unlock the extra money that Greece needs to keep funding itself."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she is confident the issue will be closed at Monday's Eurogroup meeting. Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said that Eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed on a Greek debt buy-back programme in order to fill a financing gap, according to Reuters.
MPC voted 8-to-1 in favour of keeping QE unchanged
The minutes of the latest Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting came out this morning, showing that eight of the nine members voted to maintain the size of its asset purchases at £375bn.
Barclays Research analyst Chris Crowe said that the minutes were supportive of the current stance: "standing back from further stimulus for the time being, but ready to do more if the economy continues to disappoint."
In other domestic news, UK public sector net borrowing came in at £8.6bn last month, up from £5.9bn in October 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics. The consensus estimate was for net borrowing to the tune of £6bn.
FTSE 100: Johnson Matthey sinks after first-half results
Shares in platinum refiner Johnson Matthey tumbled after it reported a 6% drop in profits in the first half, while warning that it doesn't expect things to pick up in the latter part of the fiscal year. Chief Executive Neil Carson said that "the outlook in some of our other markets has weakened and visibility remains limited. We therefore expect that the group's performance in the second half will be similar to the first half of the year." The group's interim dividend also failed to live up to some expectations.
Contract caterer Compass was also down following the announcement of its full-year results. The company saw profits break through the billion-pound barrier in the 12 months to the end of September though it did caution about the challenging economic environment in Europe.
Natural gas giant BG Group was leading the risers on the Footsie with market chatter pointing to renewed takeover rumours.
Utilities stocks were performing well after an Ofwat statement eased concerns in the sector about water price controls. Ofwat sought to clarify some licence modification proposals following requests for more information from shareholders, but analysts said that the regulator had "softened" its stance, suggesting that there is room for negotiation. United Utilities and Severn Trent were making gains.
Telecoms giant Vodafone was among the heaviest fallers of the day after going ex-dividend today, along with mining group Vedanta and supermarket chain Sainsbury.
Real estate peers Land Securities and British Land were high risers this morning after Morgan Stanley upgraded its ratings on the stocks to 'overweight'.
Xstrata and Glencore continued to rise after shareholders yesterday voted in favour of their propped merger. The Financial Times reported this morning that the tie-up is expected to win the approval from the European Commission this week, citing people involved in the process.
FTSE 250: JD Sports rises on sales growth
Sports apparel group JD Sports Fashion was higher after seeing like-for-like sales growth pick up slightly in the third quarter despite seeing what it labelled as a "tough" environment.
took a hit as disturbing video footage of August's tragedies at the Marikana mines was reviewed by the Farlam commission, which is examining the conduct of Lonmin and other organisations. The footage appears to throw up more questions than it answers, reports suggest.
Car and bike parts retailer Halfords dropped after saying that full-year profits will be slightly below consensus estimates.
Shares in BTG were retreating one day after the company announced the approval of its ZYTIGA product, the prostate cancer treatment drug developed by thespecialist healthcare firm, was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the firm announced on Tuesday morning.
FTSE 100 - Risers
BG Group (BG.) 1,060.00p +2.81%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 671.50p +1.90%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,472.00p +1.81%
British Land Co (BLND) 524.00p +1.75%
Aviva (AV.) 340.70p +1.64%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,787.00p +1.59%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 737.00p +1.45%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,569.00p +1.42%
WPP (WPP) 825.00p +1.35%
SSE (SSE) 1,396.00p +1.16%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,190.00p -5.81%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,057.00p -2.40%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 269.00p -2.18%
Kingfisher (KGF) 272.00p -2.12%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 159.15p -1.94%
Evraz (EVR) 226.30p -1.65%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 165.00p -1.55%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,570.00p -1.50%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 333.60p -1.39%
Compass Group (CPG) 699.50p -1.34%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Pace (PIC) 184.70p +3.88%
PayPoint (PAY) 876.50p +3.73%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 889.00p +3.01%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 2,839.00p +2.86%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,394.00p +2.58%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 210.00p +1.84%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,284.00p +1.82%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 399.80p +1.73%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 701.00p +1.59%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 234.80p +1.56%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Lonmin (LMI) 292.10p -5.99%
Supergroup (SGP) 604.00p -3.90%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 423.80p -3.86%
BTG (BTG) 341.20p -3.40%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 227.30p -3.28%
IP Group (IPO) 109.20p -3.19%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 568.50p -2.99%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 33.00p -2.80%
HICL Infrastructure Company Ltd (HICL) 121.60p -2.80%
London & Stamford Property (LSP) 107.90p -2.79%