- FTSE 100 closes at highest since November 4th
- Morrison gains on property sales rumours
- Banks celebrate eased Basel rules
- US Q4 earnings season in focus ahead of busy week
techMARK 2,803.23 +0.05%
FTSE 100 6,757.15 +0.26%
FTSE 250 16,254.80 +0.39%
After a choppy session, UK markets finished in positive territory with strong gains from Morrison, precious metals producers and banking stocks providing a lift.
Banks, in particular, were standout performers across Europe today after the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision eased the terms of its capital requirements.
The FTSE 100 finished up 17.21 points at 6,757.15, having traded within a narrow range for most of the session. Nevertheless, this was the index's highest closing price since November 4th.
"While a broadly positive session today, trading can best be described as a little lacklustre with not much in the way of a strong directional bias one way or the other," said Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets.
Hewson said that investors appeared content to "sit on their hands" as they await a barrage of corporate earnings from some heavyweights on Wall Street later this week; JPMorgan Chase & Co, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup all expected to report their fourth-quarter earnings in the coming days. They are among the 29 constituents on the S&P 500
to release their results this week.
Market sentiment is still a little fragile in the aftermath of Friday's release of the December US jobs report , which revealed that just 74,000 jobs were added last month, significantly below the 241,000 recorded in November and well below what was expected by analysts. The big miss has sparked uncertainty regarding the future of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing programme, which it started to taper at last month's meeting in the face of an improving labour market.
In other news, Barclays Research recently revised its growth estimate for the UK in 2014 to 3.1% from its previous forecast of 2.3%. Meanwhile, over the weekend Citigroup analysts were cited as saying that growth could reach 4% in at least one quarter this year.
Morrison gains on press speculation
Supermarket group Morrison was a high riser as it continued to recover after a steep fall last week following a bigger-than-expected drop in like-for-like sales over Christmas. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that the company is considering disposing of property to fund a capital return in an effort to win back investors.
Precious metal producers Randgold and Fresnillo were performing well by the close after analysts at Numis said that two groups were their top picks among gold and silver miners, respectively.
Banks were also making decent gains after Basel eased the terms of a rule on institutions' leverage ratios, reducing the pressure on lenders to raise more capital to meet requirements. Barclays, Lloyds and RBS all finished higher.
Heading the other way was oil major Tullow, as investors took profits following Friday's strong surge on bid speculation. Rumours had suggested that Norwegian firm Statoil was interested in the FTSE 100 company.
Oilfield services group AMEC was higher after saying it would buy Switzerland-based rival Foster Wheeler for £1.9bn. AMEC said that the combination of the businesses "is a compelling proposition for all shareholders".
Alcoholic drinks manufacturers Diageo and SABMiller were up after Japanese whisky maker Suntory offered $16bn for US spirits group Beam.
The share price of department store Debenhams advanced after High Street peer Sports Direct bought a 4.6% stake in the company, saying that it is exploring options for the retailers to work together. Sports Direct, however, was trading firmly lower.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 251.30p +6.44%
Fresnillo (FRES) 703.50p +3.61%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,835.00p +3.31%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 368.00p +3.11%
Barclays (BARC) 291.70p +2.86%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,660.00p +2.66%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,691.00p +2.55%
Amec (AMEC) 1,105.00p +2.41%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,024.00p +2.20%
Experian (EXPN) 1,131.00p +2.17%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 878.00p -3.46%
Schroders (SDR) 2,590.00p -1.48%
SSE (SSE) 1,344.00p -1.47%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,042.50p -1.36%
Centrica (CNA) 326.20p -1.30%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 747.50p -1.12%
Kingfisher (KGF) 385.00p -1.10%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 803.50p -1.05%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,655.00p -1.02%
BAE Systems (BA.) 429.70p -0.99%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 675.00p +6.72%
Debenhams (DEB) 85.65p +5.03%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 541.00p +4.95%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 100.20p +4.65%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 346.50p +4.21%
Homeserve (HSV) 294.30p +4.18%
RPS Group (RPS) 359.60p +4.05%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 175.50p +3.97%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,107.00p +3.94%
UBM (UBM) 708.00p +3.66%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Beazley (BEZ) 271.30p -3.11%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 715.00p -2.79%
Synthomer (SYNT) 276.70p -2.67%
Hiscox Ltd (HSX) 628.50p -2.63%
Interserve (IRV) 674.00p -2.25%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 392.00p -1.85%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 550.00p -1.79%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 55.50p -1.77%
Fenner (FENR) 465.50p -1.77%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,679.00p -1.76%