- FTSE 100 catches up after long weekend
- Euroscepticism tempered by election results in Italy, Greece
- IHG gains on bid interest
- Lloyds to float TSB division
- Pfizer walks away from AstraZeneca proposal
techMARK 2,786.31 +1.03%
FTSE 100 6,844.94 +0.43%
FTSE 250 15,843.93 +0.88%
Equities ended the day modestly on the up, as traders reacted to positive economic data Stateside and the favourable European parliamentary election results seen in Greece and Italy over the weekend.
Thus, the Footsie tracked the S&P 500
29 points higher, finishing the day at the 6,845 point mark.
US durable goods orders increased 0.8% over the month in April following a 3.6% climb a month earlier, surprising analysts who had expected a 0.7% drop.
"The election results are a positive, especially for Italy and Greece, where euroscepticism would have been a powerful threat to pending reforms and to the return of international investors," according to analysts at RBS.
The day's key 'talking point' was Lloyd's announcement of its intention to offload some of its branch network under the TSB brand so as to comply with new regulations from the European Union.
Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK, highlighted that the timing of the UK lender's management may be "a little bit off." In that same vein, Hewson pointed out how some institutional investors were complaining that the Saga flotation had killed off the IPO market.
But in his opinion, that seems "somewhat melodramatic, and when looking at the facts is just plain wrong."
The IPO market was already showing signs of fatigue before the Saga IPO with retail chain Fat Face pulling its plans to float earlier this month, Hewson added.
Coincidentally, on Tuesday independent information and communications technology service provider Timico announced its decision to postpone its upcoming float.
There was finally a modicum of good news on the geopolitical front. Following the results of Sunday's Ukrainian elections Russia's Foreign Minister indicated that his country would respect the will of the country's voters. Nevertheless, that came as news came in of heavy fighting between Ukrainian forces trying to retake the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk and pro-Russian separatists, with dozens amongst the latter having reportedly been killed.
IPO market may be dead but M&A speculation continues
surged after Sky News reported that the company rejected a £6bn takeover bid on the grounds that it was too low. While the identity of the bidder has not been confirmed, analysts suggested that the proposal could have come from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
IAG was another top riser on the Footsie, after Goldman Sachs wrote to clients saying that they were forecasting a continued acceleration in passenger growth in the industry, "in line with an improving European economic outlook and airline capacity reactivations". In the specific case of IAG they said that the April US ISM bodes well for IAG's summer premium traffic.
Lloyds advanced after confirming it will float a quarter of shares in TSB on the London Stock Exchange in June. Chief Executive António Horta-Osório said the initial public offering of TSB "is an important further step for the group as we act to meet our commitments to the European Commission".
Heading the other way was AstraZeneca after US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer called an end to its pursuit following continued rejections from the board of the Anglo-Swedish rival. Societe Generale was weighing further on AstraZeneca's share price after cutting its rating on the stock from 'hold' to 'sell'.
Ophir Energy sank after saying it failed to encounter significant hydrocarbon shows after drilling the Affanga Deep-1 well in the Gnodo block offshore Gabon. Sector peer
Aveva and Greencore gain on the back of broker comments
Software maker Aveva was the best performer on the FTSE 250 as it revealed an 11% increase in full-year profit underpinned by strong demand at its Engineering and Design Systems unit and improved margins.
Analysts at Numis Securities lifted their target price on convenience food producer Greencore to 320p per share from 209p previously on the back of the company's interim results out last week. The broker highlighted the business win from M&S at the Northampton sandwich factory, which will add an initial £30m per year to the firm's sales starting next year.
The outlook for sugar and sweetener maker Tate & Lyle remains 'muted' following a challenging 2013/14, according to Davy Research which retained an 'underperform' rating on the stock. Ahead of the company's announcement of its results for the year-end March on May 29th, Davy said it expects adjusted profit before tax to total £323m, down from £327m the year before, in line with consensus forecasts.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ARM Holdings (ARM) 917.00p +3.97%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 392.90p +3.56%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,302.00p +3.41%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,724.00p +3.23%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,604.00p +3.09%
Sage Group (SGE) 413.80p +3.04%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,906.00p +2.92%
CRH (CRH) 1,680.00p +2.88%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 888.50p +2.66%
St James's Place (STJ) 788.00p +2.34%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 822.00p -3.18%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,252.00p -1.76%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,428.00p -1.71%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 339.00p -1.37%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 200.00p -1.33%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,899.00p -1.30%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,308.00p -1.06%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,557.00p -1.05%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,236.00p -0.66%
BP (BP.) 504.20p -0.55%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,350.00p +8.75%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,075.00p +5.39%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,292.00p +5.14%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 301.90p +4.39%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,905.00p +3.87%
CSR (CSR) 574.50p +3.79%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,510.00p +3.57%
Greencore Group (GNC) 290.00p +3.39%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 313.80p +3.36%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 345.00p +3.29%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 250.00p -3.88%
Genus (GNS) 1,043.00p -1.88%
Hunting (HTG) 796.00p -1.85%
Investec (INVP) 506.50p -1.84%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 59.95p -1.80%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 668.50p -1.76%
Alent (ALNT) 311.70p -1.67%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 697.00p -1.62%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,063.00p -1.39%
Afren (AFR) 149.00p -1.39%