- Economic data from across the globe fails to impress
- Policy decisions, US non-farm payrolls being watched
- Tullow jumps on bid speculation, AB Foods and RSA rise strongly
- Hargreaves Lansdown drops sharply after H1 report
techMARK 2,745.01 -0.04%
FTSE 100 6,457.89 +0.13%
FTSE 250 15,561.38 +0.14%
It was a relatively subdued session for the UK equity market with stocks trading within a narrow range for most of the day as investors digested poor economic data from across the globe.
Nevertheless, bargain hunters ensured that the benchmark FTSE 100 finished in positive territory following five straight days of losses. The index closed 8.62 points higher at 6,457.89.
However, upside was limited ahead of a number of key risk events in the coming days, including policy decisions from the UK and Eurozone tomorrow and the all-important US non-farm payrolls report on Friday.
Economic data fails to impress
The UK services purchasing managers' index (PMI) eased from 58.8 to 58.3 in January, surprising analysts who had expected a slight pick-up to 59.
The final reading of the Eurozone composite PMI was revised to 52.9 in January, up from 52.1 in the previous month but below the preliminary estimate of 53.2.
Eurozone retail sales dropped by 1.6% in December, reversing after a revised 0.9% increase the month before; the consensus forecast was for a 0.7% decline.
The US ADP employment report showed that 175,000 private jobs were added in January, down from 227,000 a month earlier and lower than the 185,000 estimate.
On a positive note, the Institute for Supply Management's US non-manufacturing index rose from 53 to 54 in January, ahead of the 53.7 level expected by analysts.
Tullow jumps late on
Tullow Oil finished over 7% higher with analysts citing renewed bid speculation involving Norwegian oil and gas group Statoil. The stock has come been under pressure over recent weeks as rumours regarding a potential takeover began to subside.
AB Foods was extending gains after analysts at Morgan Stanley said yesterday that the market was "fundamentally mispricing" its Primark retail chain.
RSA Insurance rose strongly after appointing former RBS frontman Stephen Hester as its new Chief Executive Officer. Hester, credited with turning around RBS after the financial crisis, will take the helm at the troubled insurance group with immediate effect.
Fund manager and brokerage firm Hargreaves Lansdown underwhelmed with record first-half revenues and profits this morning as the stock retreated after its recent strong run. "Given that the shares
only recently hit record highs, expectations had probably been a little on the high side," said Chief Market Analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.
Essar Energy was a high riser today on the FTSE 250, rebounding after a 25% slump since the start of the year. The stock was up over 10% by the close after nearing record lows earlier in the session.
Home emergency insurer HomeServe was also higher after saying it expects full-year adjusted profits to be in line with market expectations.
Infrastructure services group Balfour Beatty rose after RBC Capital Markets upgraded its rating by two notches from 'underperform' to 'outperform', saying that the stock is geared to the recovery in the UK.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 849.50p +7.06%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 103.60p +4.65%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,883.00p +4.38%
William Hill (WMH) 343.90p +2.75%
Fresnillo (FRES) 792.00p +2.52%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,406.00p +2.01%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 892.50p +2.00%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,075.00p +1.96%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 893.50p +1.88%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 401.70p +1.70%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,345.00p -10.15%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 755.50p -2.20%
Sage Group (SGE) 407.20p -1.83%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,189.00p -1.71%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,548.00p -1.65%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,375.00p -1.50%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 215.90p -1.21%
Kingfisher (KGF) 354.40p -1.09%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,225.00p -1.01%
CRH (CRH) 1,554.00p -0.96%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Essar Energy (ESSR) 59.30p +9.11%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 371.00p +5.37%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 334.40p +5.29%
Homeserve (HSV) 322.00p +4.89%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 804.50p +4.34%
Hiscox Ltd (HSX) 651.50p +4.32%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 181.40p +3.95%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 293.30p +3.31%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 526.50p +3.24%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,280.00p +3.17%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Cairn Energy (CNE) 201.50p -4.91%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,550.00p -4.85%
Victrex plc (VCT) 1,854.00p -4.78%
Hellermanntyton Group (HTY) 283.10p -3.61%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 879.50p -2.82%
Rotork (ROR) 2,391.00p -2.53%
Rank Group (RNK) 137.00p -2.49%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 336.40p -2.49%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,280.00p -2.07%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 15.85p -2.04%