- FTSE closes down 1.45 points at 6,873.55
- Lift provided by US markets
- SABMiller rises on takeover rumours
techMARK 2,859.23 +0.07%
FTSE 100 6,873.55 -0.02%
FTSE 250 16,210.64 -0.05%
Stocks were ultimately little changed from their opening level, although came off the lows seen mid-morning and rose further after markets opened Stateside.
The FTSE 100 closed down just 1.45 points at 6,873.55.
Chris Beauchamp, Market Analyst at IG, said: "As the US opened, we saw the FTSE 100 slowly begin to recover some of its losses, as yet again US indices drew the London market higher, if only slightly. Traders hoping to see the FTSE finally break out of its range will therefore be hoping that it is improving global data, rather than any signs of improvement in the UK, that will drag the market upwards."
There was a reasonable amount of macro news out in the UK today, including predictions from the Office for National Statistics that gross domestic product will likely be revised up by 4.6% in September following the inclusion of such changes as research and development costs and black market activities.
Industrial production expanded at a 0.4% month-on-month and 3% year-on-year pace in April. The consensus estimate had been for an increase of 0.4% and 2.8%, respectively.
Manufacturing output expanded by 0.4% during the month and 4.4% during the year, ahead of the 4.1% which the consensus had been expecting.
UK food sales fall for the first time since 2008
On a like-for-like basis UK retail sales grew 0.5% year-on-year in May, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), with signs of a recovery in consumer spending apparent.
However, whereas non-food sales expanded at a 4.3% pace over the last three months when compared to 2013, ahead of the 3.8% 12-month trend rate, food sales slipped by 0.2%.
Excluding distortions related to Easter, that was the first fall recorded in that category since the business lobby began carrying out its survey in 2008.
Looking abroad, US job openings were once again higher in April, with 4,455k registered for the month compared to 4,166k in March.
According to Barclays Research, "the largest jump came from the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, which saw job openings rise by 93,000 on the month, although the strength was fairly broad-based.
"Total hires and separations were both virtually unchanged on the month at 4,708k and 4,496k, respectively, consistent with hire and separation rates of 3.4% and 3.3%. The ratio of unemployed job seekers to job openings plummeted to 2.19 in April, well below the print of 2.51 in March and the lowest level since June 2008."
SABMiller rises on takeover speculation
SABMiller surged to the top of the leaderboard this afternoon after the Financial Times reported "rumours" regarding a potential takeover.
Weir Group was also a strong riser after Societe Generale upped its rating from 'sell' to 'hold'.
Technology tool maker Oxford Instruments was higher after hailing an improved set of full-year results, with orders, sales and profits all ahead of the prior year.
Meanwhile, BT declined, having yesterday gained on the back of an upbeat note from Nomura.
Next's share price dropped into the red after the British retailer announced the resignation of its long-running Executive Director and Group Product Director, Christos Angelides.
Anglo American was another notable faller, hit by news out late yesterday that talks between it, Lonmin, Impala and the platinum striker had "unfortunately been dissolved without an outcome".
Sports Direct fell after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock from 'strong buy' to 'buy' with a target price of 1,100p.
Also in the red was Ted Baker after Oriel Securities downgraded the shares
from 'buy' to 'add', despite it reporting a strong start to the year.
FTSE 100 - Risers
SABMiller (SAB) 3,460.00p +5.57%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,100.00p +2.33%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,677.00p +1.63%
Royal Mail (RMG) 506.50p +1.10%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,685.00p +1.09%
Meggitt (MGGT) 529.50p +1.05%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 901.00p +0.84%
WPP (WPP) 1,310.00p +0.77%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,623.00p +0.77%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,408.00p +0.71%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BT Group (BT.A) 396.50p -2.36%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 412.60p -1.97%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,097.00p -1.97%
Next (NXT) 6,515.00p -1.66%
Pearson (PSON) 1,132.00p -1.48%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,452.00p -1.33%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 815.00p -1.21%
Old Mutual (OML) 202.10p -1.17%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,660.00p -1.13%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 773.00p -1.02%
FTSE 250 - Risers
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,094.00p +2.72%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,750.00p +2.34%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,374.00p +2.23%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,433.00p +2.23%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,022.00p +2.10%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 560.00p +2.00%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 322.50p +1.80%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 696.50p +1.75%
3i Group (III) 435.30p +1.71%
RPS Group (RPS) 293.00p +1.67%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ted Baker (TED) 1,935.00p -4.16%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,150.00p -3.44%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 217.00p -3.17%
Greencore Group (GNC) 282.50p -3.15%
Lonmin (LMI) 242.90p -3.15%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 250.50p -2.64%
Xaar (XAR) 762.50p -2.43%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,280.00p -2.29%
Booker Group (BOK) 142.70p -2.19%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 880.00p -1.79%