- FTSE 100 near record highs
- Housing stocks lifted by Taylor Wimpey comments
- easyJet, TUI Travel and LSE fall
- Global investors underweight UK equities for a second month
techMARK 2,804.22 +0.35%
FTSE 100 6,873.08 +0.31%
FTSE 250 16,038.89 +0.36%
UK stocks managed a slightly stronger close on Tuesday despite the still tense situation in Ukraine and slightly weaker than expected data published in China.
The FTSE 100 ended the day 0.31% higher at 6,873.08, pulling back after hitting a high of 6,877.39 early on. Nevertheless, the index still remains within touching distance of the intraday record high of 6,950.6 registered on December 30th 1999.
That came as the Dow Jones Industrial and S&P 500
finished at fresh record highs overnight. During the session the S&P 500 actually managed to peer its head above the 1,900 point mark for the first time ever.
Global investors underweight UK equities for a second month
Bank of America Merrill Lynch's latest monthly fund manager survey revealed that average cash levels at those funds covered by its study jumped to 5% from 4.6%. That was well above the level of 4.5% which fund managers often consider to be a 'contrarian' signal to 'buy'. In that regard, the broker further noted how over the past 11 months cash levels have been above 4.4% while the S&P 500 has moved towards 1,875 points from 1,650 points.
A net 1% of investors were underweight UK equities in May, the same survey showed. That marked the second consecutive month 'underweight' by global investors following eight months of being 'overweight'. Positioning in Eurozone equities picked up to 36% 'overweight' during the month.
Bundesbank shows some flexibility
Investors were also digesting reports from The Wall Street Journal which cited sources saying that the Bundesbank is willing to back an array of stimulus measures next month from the European Central Bank.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier believes the Ukraine's presidential vote on May 25th will play a big part in resolving the unrest.
Steinmeier met acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya in Kiev today in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the European Commission on economic and monetary affairs today said Ukraine will be able to use the European Union's financial assistance to pay off its debt for Russian gas.
Housing, mining shares
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey gave a bullish outlook on Tuesday with a "new and enhanced set of financial targets" as the housing market goes from strength to strength. The company also said it will return at least £200m of cash per year from 2016 on top of the £50m special dividend in July 2014 and £200m in July 2015.
Others in the sector were also given a boost by the comments, such as Barratt Developments, Persimmon and Crest Nicholson.
Manufacturing conglomerate Melrose gained after trading in the first quarter was in line with expectations with order intake up 3% since the start of the year. Broker Investec highlighted the encouraging signs in current trading and forward orders at the company.
AstraZeneca was also on the rise after reiterating its defence to an attempted takeover by US rival Pfizer. AstraZeneca said Pfizer is making an "opportunistic attempt [...] without reflecting the value of its exciting pipeline. This value should accrue fully to AstraZeneca shareholders."
Heading the other way was airline easyJet which was flying lower despite narrowing first-half losses by nearly 14% to £53m. "Whilst we remain hugely optimistic about the long-term prospects of this business, in the near term we expect the shares to pause for breath," said Analyst Gert Zonneveld from Panmure Gordon. Credit Suisse had a similar point of view, pointing out the shares trade at a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 15 but in their opinion are nevertheless a multi-year value proposition.
Travel and leisure peer TUI Travel was also lower as it said that the pre-tax loss widened 5% to £369m in the first half due to the timing of Easter.
London Stock Exchange dropped after confirming media speculation that it is considering a potential purchase of US asset-management and stock-index group Russell Investments. According to media reports, the group could be fetch a value of $3bn, equating to 10 times earnings.
Investment management and financial planning company Brewin Dolphin fell after saying that it will take a one-off charge of £32m this year after deciding to pull the roll-out of the JHC Figaro software across the group.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Persimmon (PSN) 1,404.00p +3.24%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 386.30p +3.21%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,028.00p +2.39%
ITV (ITV) 191.00p +2.25%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 293.50p +2.19%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 468.20p +2.12%
GKN (GKN) 384.60p +1.99%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,345.00p +1.83%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 773.00p +1.78%
Centrica (CNA) 323.60p +1.76%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
easyJet (EZJ) 1,658.00p -4.16%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,808.00p -2.53%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 435.50p -2.22%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 779.00p -2.14%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 219.85p -2.05%
TUI Travel (TT.) 433.80p -1.77%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 857.00p -1.32%
William Hill (WMH) 349.10p -0.94%
Fresnillo (FRES) 825.00p -0.90%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,031.00p -0.87%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 114.40p +7.62%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,378.00p +4.39%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,110.00p +4.23%
CSR (CSR) 585.00p +3.72%
Pace (PIC) 385.50p +3.63%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 363.50p +3.33%
Rank Group (RNK) 164.50p +3.13%
Workspace Group (WKP) 577.50p +3.12%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 334.60p +2.95%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 1,160.00p +2.84%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Lonmin (LMI) 261.10p -3.72%
Perform Group (PER) 265.00p -2.97%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 124.20p -2.59%
Drax Group (DRX) 637.50p -2.45%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 250.30p -2.34%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 200.00p -2.30%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 320.00p -2.26%
FirstGroup (FGP) 132.00p -2.08%
Man Group (EMG) 95.00p -2.06%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,500.00p -1.96%