- FTSE closes down 23.86 points at 6,798.56
- Barclays slumps after poor Q1
- OECD predicts 3.2 per cent growth in 2014
techMARK 2,792.09 -0.09%
FTSE 100 6,798.56 -0.35%
FTSE 250 15,938.69 +0.05%
UK stocks ended the day in the red, dragged by developments in Ukraine and a poor performance by Barclays, AstraZeneca and Aberdeen Asset Management.
The FTSE 100 closed down 23.86 points at 6,798.56.
Meantime, sterling hit an intraday high at 1.6999 versus the US dollar
ahead of the next MPC meeting, likely as traders try and test Governor Carney´s patience, as they are sometimes wont to do.
Brenda Kelly, Chief Market Strategist at IG: "The FTSE 100 continues to flounder this afternoon, after results from Barclays knocked the index back from a nine-week high. Figures from the bank show that it still has a lot of problems to iron out, as Anthony Jenkins looks to transform the financial titan from an emblem of uninhibited capitalism to one more suited to the post-crisis world."
The negatives were somewhat offset by predictions the UK economy will grow 3.2% in 2014, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD said growth was being driven by higher levels of investment and private consumption.
Looking further ahead, growth in 2015 is currently expected to be 2.7%, when it also expects unemployment to fall to 6.5% from its predicted figure of 6.9% this year.
In other UK macro news, services growth accelerated faster than expected in April thanks to broad-based improvement in the economy, with manufacturing growing especially fast during the month.
Markit's all sector purchasing managers index (PMI) rose from 58.2 in March to a five-month high of 59.4.
In the latest out from Eastern Europe, Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has said he won't conduct further talks in Geneva unless pro-Russian opposition groups are also present, saying otherwise "we would just go round in circles".
Speaking after a Council of Europe meeting, he said: "If Russia is ready to commit itself to support these elections and to eliminate this threat and eliminate its support for the extremist elements in Ukraine, we are ready to have such a round of meetings."
That was as Germany advised its citizens in east and south Ukraine to leave as it believes the country is just a "few steps" away from "military confrontation", according to the Telegraph.
Eurozone PMI makes ECB move unlikely, Markit says
Eurozone economic growth was confirmed at a three-year high on Tuesday, according to survey compiler Markit's composite PMI figures which signalled an ongoing expansion for the tenth consecutive month.
Specifically, the final reading for April remained unchanged from the 'flash' estimate of 54. This compared to the prior month's print of 53.1 and was the highest level since May 2011.
Barclays leads the downside after poor quarterly performance
Barclays fell sharply after a weak performance from its investment banking arm contributed to a 5% decline in quarterly adjusted pre-tax profit to £1.7bn in the first quarter. The group said bond trading, currency and commodity (FICC) income in the investment bank declined significantly in the three months to March 31st. The stock was downgraded by Numis Securities from 'add' to 'hold'.
IG's Kelly further commented: "Barclays needs to pull something fairly impressive out at its strategy meeting on Thursday, as it is this that will set the direction for the months to come. Mr Jenkins must continue to rein in the investment bank to suit public tastes, while simultaneously avoiding tipping the division into a death spiral."
The uncertainty surrounding Pfizer's takover bid for AstraZeneca ensured that the stock and its sector peer Shire were both in the bottom 10. According to the Financial Times, AstraZeneca has pressed Prime Minister David Cameron to remain neutral over Pfizer's offer, which was rejected by the board last week.
Persimmon led the UK housebuilders higher today, lifted by Barclays which increased its target price on the stock from 1,333.6p to 1,530p.
Sector peer Barratt Developments was also a notable riser.
Both Sainsbury and Morrison were firmly higher ahead of announcements due out from them later this week, despite the fact neither is expected to be particularly positive.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Persimmon (PSN) 1,378.00p +3.84%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 333.40p +3.77%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 202.00p +2.96%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,995.00p +2.29%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,963.00p +2.17%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 382.30p +1.95%
Pearson (PSON) 1,112.00p +1.65%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 99.25p +1.59%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,667.00p +1.58%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 898.00p +1.58%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barclays (BARC) 245.00p -5.22%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,359.00p -3.12%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,677.50p -2.71%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,445.00p -2.36%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 435.40p -2.35%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 325.20p -1.96%
WPP (WPP) 1,263.00p -1.79%
William Hill (WMH) 349.70p -1.66%
GKN (GKN) 376.80p -1.59%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,542.50p -1.44%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Soco International (SIA) 440.30p +4.86%
Pace (PIC) 352.90p +4.72%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,345.00p +4.27%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,880.00p +3.58%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 49.71p +3.56%
ITE Group (ITE) 232.60p +3.47%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 335.50p +3.42%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 97.75p +3.33%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 140.50p +3.31%
Grainger (GRI) 224.50p +3.27%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 228.60p -20.01%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 329.20p -5.21%
Carillion (CLLN) 358.40p -4.17%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 449.10p -3.42%
SIG (SHI) 190.50p -3.15%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,494.00p -2.77%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 161.60p -2.59%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,409.00p -2.49%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 344.00p -2.38%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 518.50p -2.26%