- Markets finish higher, upside limited after Fed
- UK GDP up 0.7 per cent in Q4
- Fund managers, banks lift markets higher
techMARK 2,781.48 +0.71%
FTSE 100 6,572.33 +0.33%
FTSE 250 15,715.83 +1.21%
UK markets registered small gains on Tuesday as stocks recovered after five straight days of losses which sent the FTSE 100 to its lowest level in nearly six weeks.
The sell-off in emerging-market currencies - which had sparked big falls across global stock markets in recent days - stabilised slightly today after Turkey's central bank said it would hold an emergency monetary policy meeting (its decision is expected for 22:00) to take measures to halt the sharp slide in the lira.
"With so many companies retesting the price-earnings multiples last seen before the markets collapsed, traders can be forgiven for thinking twice about buying the dips," said Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst at IG.
The FTSE 100 finished 21.67 points lower by the close at 6,572.33, rebounding after hitting its worst closing price since December 18th on Monday.
However, gains were only modest as investors continued to show caution ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting which concludes tomorrow. The Fed, which began scaling back its monthly asset purchases in December from $85bn to $75bn, will make another $10bn cut this month, according to the consensus forecast.
In economic data today, UK gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, a slight slowdown from the 0.8% growth registered the preceding three months but in line with expectations.
However, over 2013 as a whole, the economy expanded at a 1.9% rate, compared with just 0.3% growth in 2012. This was the best annual growth in Britain since 2007.
Financials provide a lift
Financial stocks were performing well today as sentiment recovered following an emerging markets-inspired sell-off in recent days. Aberdeen, the fund manager which has bore the brunt of the downside pressure in recent days owing to its exposure to developing nations, was among the best performers this afternoon.
Investors at Lloyds welcomed the bank's announcement that it will cut 1,080 jobs and outsource a further 310 as part of its strategic review.
RBS rebounded after a late statement yesterday which detailed nearly £3bn of provisions for new claims. However, a number of analysts emphasised that the bank had merely brought forward charges that had been expected for 2014. Meanwhile, market speculation today suggested that the bank could speed up the sale of its US banking division.
Fund manager F&C Asset Management, which rocketed yesterday after a £708m offer from a division of Canada's Bank of Montreal, was still making gains after recommending the deal to shareholders.
Water groups Severn Trent and United Utilities continued to rise on takeover speculation after rumours surfaced yesterday about possible private equity bids out of Canada.
Meanwhile, chip designer ARM Holdings saw its share price drop after an IDC report showed that although global smartphone shipments rose 38%, growth was driven by lower-margin cheaper devices.
Mining group Fresnillo fell after gold production came in just shy of its full-year target due to a ban on the use of explosives at one of its mines. Silver production, however, came in ahead of forecasts.
Oil and gas firm BG Group was in the red again after sinking sharply yesterday on disappointing production guidance for 2014 and 2015. Analysts across the board trimmed their target prices for the stock today, with JPMorgan notably downgrading the shares
FTSE 100 - Risers
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,778.00p +4.59%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,485.00p +3.92%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 343.90p +3.52%
Royal Mail (RMG) 578.50p +3.49%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,292.00p +3.36%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 737.00p +3.29%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 82.85p +3.05%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 403.20p +3.04%
CRH (CRH) 1,609.00p +3.01%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,034.00p +2.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 751.00p -3.10%
BG Group (BG.) 1,053.50p -2.63%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 829.50p -1.66%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,217.00p -1.55%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 944.50p -1.36%
Tesco (TSCO) 320.25p -1.34%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,985.00p -1.31%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,105.00p -1.25%
G4S (GFS) 247.10p -1.12%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 687.00p -1.08%
FTSE 250 - Risers
F&C Asset Management (FCAM) 123.50p +6.10%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 508.00p +5.46%
Xaar (XAR) 1,079.00p +4.76%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 176.80p +4.74%
Laird (LRD) 308.90p +4.18%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 158.00p +4.15%
Afren (AFR) 150.90p +4.14%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 288.50p +4.08%
Betfair Group (BET) 986.50p +3.95%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 337.20p +3.88%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Cairn Energy (CNE) 226.40p -4.51%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,100.00p -4.28%
De La Rue (DLAR) 788.50p -2.95%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 367.50p -2.21%
Polymetal International (POLY) 590.00p -1.91%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 131.00p -1.87%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,664.00p -1.65%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 604.50p -1.55%
Genus (GNS) 1,325.00p -1.49%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,080.00p -1.37%