- ECB ready and willing to act
- Vodafone and SuperGroup lead gains
- All eyes on Friday´s US jobs report
techMARK 2,779.24 +1.25%
FTSE 100 6,558.28 +1.55%
FTSE 250 15,789.91 +1.47%
After a cautious start, UK markets pushed firmly into positive territory on Thursday after European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi indicated he was "ready and willing to act". Market watchers took that to mean that it may well undertake furher policy measures at upcoming meetings.
The FTSE 100 finished the session 1.55% higher at 6,550.
Contrary to some economists´ expectations the ECB did not announce any further measures to help liquidity conditions in the Eurozone´s short-term funding markets. On the subject of ending the so-called sterilisation of purchases of government bonds via its Securities Markets Programme (SMP) the monetary authority simply said that it was "being looked at" but had not been discussed at the meeting.
The remarks sent the single currency sharply higher on foreign exchange
As was widely expected, the Bank of England said at noon that it kept monetary policy unchanged, leaving the asset purchase programme at £375bn and the Bank Rate at 0.5% - the Bank Rate has remained at this level since the last rate cut in March 2009.
Acting as a backdrop, of course, investors were keenly awaiting tomorrow´s monthly non-farm payrolls report Stateside. The figures are expected to show that non-farm payrolls rose to 184,000 in January from just 74,000 in December.
Somewhat ironically, the fact is that over the last week or so, and in the run-up the US jobs report, the Footsie is little changed, despite the eye-catching bouts of volatility seen on some trading days, as often happens. Nonetheless, those numbers out of the US not infrequently set the tone to trading for the rest of the month.
Vodafone, AstraZeneca, Super Group...
Vodafone gained after third-quarter revenue declined by a less-than-expected 3.6%. Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said that sales trends would begin to improve.
AstraZeneca was in the red after saying that 2013 annual revenue fell 6% to $25.7bn as the drug maker was hurt by competition from generic brands. Core earnings per share fell 26% year-on-year to $5.05. Some analysts also pointed towards weaker-than-expected guidance from the pharmceuticals giant as a reason behind the retreat seen in the shares.
TUI Travel underwhelmed despite saying that it is confident of hitting full-year forecasts after underlying operating losses narrowed in the first quarter.
Imagination Technologies surged after announcing that US gadget giant Apple as extended its multi-year, multi-use license agreement with the chip designer.
Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser made gains after Credit Suisse lifted its rating for the stock from 'neutral' to 'outperform', saying that investors should look past concerns regarding its struggling pharmaceuticals division.
In a trading statement covering the 13 weeks to January 26th SuperGroup said sales over the period jumped 22.1% to £141m. To take into acount the shares
are at what is essentially the last level of technical resistance standing in their path, commented technical analysts at Sharecast. In a late morning note broker Investec described the company as an "attractive long term brand roll-out story [that] supports a premium valuation". It reiterated its 'buy' recommendation on the shares and 1,800p target.
Insurer Beazley expressed confidence on its outlook after revealing a 25% jump in full year pre-tax profits on the back of a strong underwriting performance and a quiet year for catastrophe related loss claims. The firm hiked its special dividend by 92%. "Ex-the special and second interim [dividend], Beazley is trading on close to a 9 times´ estimated 2014 price-to-earnings multiple, which we would see as an attractive entry point," Cannacord Genuity remarked.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 223.90p +3.71%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,812.00p +3.33%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 322.50p +3.04%
Aviva (AV.) 453.20p +3.02%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 701.50p +3.01%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,340.00p +3.00%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,484.00p +2.91%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,825.00p +2.87%
CRH (CRH) 1,598.00p +2.83%
GKN (GKN) 398.90p +2.78%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,336.00p -1.59%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,815.50p -1.59%
Fresnillo (FRES) 782.50p -1.20%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,859.00p -0.83%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,215.00p -0.46%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 103.30p -0.29%
TUI Travel (TT.) 423.80p -0.14%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 185.10p +14.19%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,600.00p +7.24%
Grainger (GRI) 225.00p +6.18%
Beazley (BEZ) 268.00p +5.76%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 486.40p +4.71%
Investec (INVP) 415.00p +4.59%
Bellway (BWY) 1,592.00p +4.33%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 394.10p +4.07%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 547.50p +3.99%
Playtech (PTEC) 693.00p +3.98%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 14.55p -8.20%
Serco Group (SRP) 398.80p -5.50%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 157.00p -3.80%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 57.35p -3.29%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 361.30p -2.61%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 298.00p -1.97%
RPS Group (RPS) 323.30p -1.79%
Rotork (ROR) 2,352.00p -1.63%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,538.00p -1.47%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 175.30p -1.35%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Skyepharma (SKP) 159.50p +10.19%
Electronic Data Processing (EDP) 82.50p +6.45%
Sepura (SEPU) 136.25p +3.61%
Promethean World (PRW) 29.75p +3.48%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 16.00p +3.23%
Filtronic (FTC) 56.25p +2.74%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 128.25p +2.60%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 127.75p +2.20%
Anite (AIE) 87.00p +1.75%
Torotrak (TRK) 22.12p +1.72%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 111.62p -3.56%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 999.00p -1.48%
CML Microsystems (CML) 592.50p -0.84%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 158.50p -0.63%
RM (RM.) 127.50p -0.39%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 182.72 -0.25%
Dialight (DIA) 727.00p -0.14%