- Markets edge higher after positive start on Wall Street
- Tullow Oil, mining stocks limit gains in London
- Chinese exports slow; Japan GDP revised lower
techMARK 2,679.67 +0.34%
FTSE 100 6,559.48 +0.11%
FTSE 250 15,391.79 +0.49%
Markets finished with small gains on Friday after a decent start on Wall Street, though upside was limited by steep losses from Tullow Oil and a host of mining stocks.
After erasing losses made earlier in the session, the FTSE 100 finished at 6,559.48, up just 7.49 points from Friday when a much better-than-expected increase in US non-farm payrolls for November sparked a rally across global equity markets.
"In London equities are standing still, as traders try to figure out their next move in the wake of the strong US jobs report last week," said David Madden, a Market Analyst from IG. "We are currently in no-man's lands, and traders are neither fearing nor depending on the US Federal Reserve for guidance."
Nevertheless, Wall Street benchmarks opened in positive territory after the opening bell today on reports that Democrats and Republicans are making progress in budget talks to trim further automatic spending cuts. Market chatter suggests that an agreement could come before this Friday's deadline.
On this side of the Pond, the heavyweight mining sector was in the red after data from China showed that import growth had slowed drastically in November from 7.6% to 5.3%, much worse than the slowdown to 7% expected by analysts.
Export growth however accelerated from 5.6% to 12.7%, pushing the country's trade surplus to $33.8bn, its highest level in five years.
Data from Japan was also a cause for concern with estimates for third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth being revised sharply lower to an annualised rate of 1.1%.
This compares with the initial estimate of 1.9% in November and came in well below the 3.6% pace of growth registered in the second quarter. The revision was mainly due to lower estimates for investment and higher inventories by companies.
Tullow Oil and miners provide a drag
Oil group Tullow was a heavy faller on Monday after saying it has plugged and abandoned its Tultule-1 wildcat well onshore Ethiopia as it failed to encounter oil.
Mining stocks were also among the worst performers with India-focused natural resources group Vedanta leading the decline ahead of its potential departure from the FTSE 100 next week. The quarterly reshuffle of the index is expected to see the stock replaced by newly-listed Royal Mail.
Other miners, including Fresnillo, Antofagasta, Randgold Resources and Rio Tinto, were also registering losses despite the widespread strength of metals prices today.
Airline group IAG was flying higher on reports that subsidiary British Airways is looking to block changes to its APS pension scheme that could lead to increased payments to its retired employees. Market chatter suggests that increased pension payouts could affect when IAG begins to pay dividends.
Insurance group Aviva was on the up after analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised their target price for the stock and added the name to their top European picks list.
Sector peer Admiral was also in demand after the announcement that it has extended its underwriting agreement with Munich Re. Analyst Nick Johnson from Numis Securities said the extension should also ease fears that Admiral might need to reduce its dividend to increase regulatory capital "if the company encountered reduced reinsurer support".
Engineering and construction group Kentz was a high riser after offering to buy the oilfield solutions business of US-based Valerus for $435m as it looks to expand its offering and increase its footprint in the Americas regions.
Satellite operator Inmarsat jumped after the successful launch of its first Global Xpress (GX) satellite, part of a $1.6bn investment by the company into the next generation of global mobile broadband communications.
FTSE 100 - Risers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 366.10p +2.38%
Aviva (AV.) 428.90p +2.27%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,228.00p +1.57%
TUI Travel (TT.) 384.00p +1.56%
Capita (CPI) 1,005.00p +1.52%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 233.45p +1.13%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,158.00p +1.06%
BG Group (BG.) 1,237.50p +1.02%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,072.00p +0.97%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,900.00p +0.96%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 869.50p -3.34%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 821.50p -2.72%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 461.00p -2.06%
Fresnillo (FRES) 742.00p -1.98%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,174.00p -1.68%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,977.00p -1.54%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,600.00p -1.42%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 100.50p -1.28%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,314.00p -1.28%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 761.50p -0.98%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 657.50p +12.97%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 730.50p +5.79%
Xaar (XAR) 1,111.00p +4.32%
ICAP (IAP) 431.70p +4.02%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,558.00p +3.87%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 335.10p +3.78%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 713.50p +3.33%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 683.00p +3.25%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 702.00p +3.24%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 360.00p +3.03%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 44.31p -3.59%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 110.00p -3.42%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 430.10p -2.36%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 469.00p -2.29%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 121.90p -2.25%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 320.70p -2.14%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 213.30p -2.07%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,749.00p -1.85%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 800.00p -1.72%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 511.50p -1.54%