- FTSE closes up 22.06 at 6,583.76
- Tensions in Eastern Europe provide drag
- BP a notable faller
- US retail sales beat expectations
techMARK 2,642.52 -1.03%
FTSE 100 6,583.76 +0.34%
FTSE 250 15,702.42 -1.23%
UK stocks managed to finish in positive territory despite growing tensions in Eastern Europe.
The FTSE 100 closed 22.06 points higher at 6,583.76. However, the more domestically oriented FTSE 250 ended the session notably lower.
Tensions in Ukraine escalated as pro-Russian radicals ignored a deadline to lay down their arms or face military action.
Over the weekend, Ukrainian President Alexándr Turchínov gave pro-Russian radicals in the east of the country until today to lay down their arms. Following the wounding of a Ukrainian special forces officer and five other soldiers in a gun battle on Sunday, Ukraine said it would launch a large-scale anti-terrorist campaign against protesters who have barricaded themselves in various government buildings in the eastern region of the country.
People in eastern Ukraine are reportedly anxiously waiting to see if President Alexándr Turchínov follows through on his threat to use forces to remove the pro-Russian groups.
Capital Economics said: "The crisis in Ukraine is back in the news again after clashes between security forces and pro-Russian activists in the east of the country. The government in Kiev has threatened "anti-terrorist" operations to reclaim official buildings occupied by protestors demanding greater regional autonomy.
"Russia has demanded that Ukraine does nothing to inflame tensions, although many in the West suspect that Moscow is behind the protests. The US and EU are both considering tightening their sanctions on Russia in response."
Elsewhere in the world, US stocks were lifted by a report that showed retail sales in the world's biggest economy grew more than expected. Retail sales in March climbed 1.1% to $433.9bn following a 0.7% increase a month earlier. Analysts had expected a 0.9% gain.
Meanwhile, comments from European Central Bank President (ECB) Mario Draghi were also in focus, after he said the ECB would ease monetary policy further if the euro keeps strengthening, in order to help achieve medium-term price stability.
"Draghi may be betting that the prospect of money-printing alone will be enough to bring the euro's value down. But with many blaming the strong euro both for holding back exports and the deflationary threat hovering over the Eurozone, there is a long way to go to make Eurozone exports more competitive," said Tony Wilson, Head of Strategy at forex specialists FEXCO.
UK set for low inflation growth but borrowing caution needed
Back in the UK, data revealed the region is set for a long period of low inflation expansion, boosting the economy, but financial watchdogs need to keep an eye on mortgage borrowing.
The British economy should expand by 2.9% this year as a favourable labour market creates "decent but unspectacular" growth, according to the EY Item Club's Spring forecast.
Meanwhile, UK wages have returned to pre-recession levels, data is expected to show this week.
The figures, which are due out on Wednesday, are anticipated to reveal a 1.8% jump for the three months ended February 28th, according to a poll of economists carried out by Reuters.
Asking prices of UK homes reach new record, survey shows
House asking prices in April are 7.3% higher than a year ago across Britain, according to Rightmove.
The average price of homes reached £262,594, marking the fastest annual rate of increase since October 2007. Compared to a month ago, prices were up 2.6%.
Prices are higher in every region across England and Wales than they were a year ago.
Supermarkets lead, airlines fly lower
Sainsbury was a strong riser as it recovered from last week's news that it had lost some of its market share to the likes of discount stores Lidl and Aldi.
Sector peer Tesco was also making decent gains after it was reported the company is planning to launch its F&F range in the US. The news comes ahead of its results out on Wednesday.
Other stocks were helped by a defensive approach from investors as they turned to those stocks typically considered safer bets, including Diageo, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Group and Reckitt Benckiser Group.
Leading the downside were stocks which have performed well over the past year, including airlines easyJet and IAG, as investors took profits.
BP was also a notable faller, hit by concerns over its exposure to the events in Eastern Europe. BP has a stake in Rosneft, the biggest producer of oil in Russia, which on Monday lost around 1.3% in value.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 326.50p +5.46%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 859.00p +3.87%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,845.00p +3.64%
Tesco (TSCO) 289.35p +2.95%
Fresnillo (FRES) 932.50p +2.64%
Diageo (DGE) 1,917.00p +2.38%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,408.00p +2.33%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,833.00p +2.09%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 842.00p +2.06%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 317.90p +2.02%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 842.00p -4.32%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,207.00p -3.98%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 740.50p -3.96%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 377.10p -3.83%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 371.50p -3.83%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,640.00p -3.53%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,890.00p -3.47%
ITV (ITV) 177.40p -3.06%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,279.00p -2.74%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,726.00p -2.43%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 85.85p +5.53%
Polymetal International (POLY) 641.00p +4.65%
Genus (GNS) 1,001.00p +4.22%
Lonmin (LMI) 289.50p +3.13%
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 241.10p +2.64%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 660.50p +2.56%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,820.00p +2.38%
Afren (AFR) 139.30p +2.28%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 1,092.00p +2.25%
Workspace Group (WKP) 579.50p +1.67%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 349.70p -7.24%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 984.00p -6.20%
RPS Group (RPS) 293.40p -5.96%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,988.00p -5.33%
Greencore Group (GNC) 242.60p -5.05%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 794.00p -4.85%
Halfords Group (HFD) 440.70p -4.67%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 706.00p -4.59%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 164.20p -4.53%
BTG (BTG) 496.50p -4.52%