- IAG under pressure due to possible Russian sanctions
- MPC might prove more hawkish than expected after services PMI
- UK services PMI, Eurozone retail sales beat forecasts
- Chinese services PMI drops to key 50-point mark
techMARK 2,741.67 +0.01%
FTSE 100 6,682.48 +0.07%
FTSE 250 15,351.91 -0.07%
UK stocks managed the slightest of gains on Tuesday as traders picked up bargains after a 2% slump for the FTSE 100 over the last four sessions. Gains however were limited by reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his country's parliament to respond to the latest Western sanctions.
Acting as a backdrop, better than expected data on the US services sector helped to offset figures which revealed activity in China's own services sector at a nine-year low.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.07% higher at 6,682 by the close of trading after finishing Monday's session at 6,677.52 - its lowest close since 10 July.
An improvement in economic data was helping investor sentiment on Tuesday.
Markit's UK services sector purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to an eight-month high of 59.1 in July, higher than consensus estimates of 58 and up from the 57.7 reading for June.
"The Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) expectation has been that economic growth would ease in the second half of 2014. So signs of renewed strength in the dominant services sector could further increase the chances of one or two Committee members voting for a rate hike in tomorrow's MPC meeting," said Martin Beck, a senior economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club.
Data also showed that Eurozone retail sales rose at an annual rate of 2.4% in June, up from 0.6% in May and well ahead of the 1.4% growth expected by the market.
Strong net inflows helped Standard Life grow assets under administration 4% to £254.1bn in the first half of the year, with revenues, profits and cash all increasing, pushing the stock higher early on.
Temporary power and temperature control group Aggreko gained as it kept its full-year guidance after good underlying growth in the first half, though reported results were weaker due to the "significant adverse impact" from currency movements. Trading profit fell 10% but improved by 6% on an underlying basis.
Broker upgrades were also helping a number of stocks this morning: JPMorgan Cazenove lifted its rating for Intertek from 'neutral' to 'overweight' saying that the product testing group has reached an inflexion point for organic growth, while engineer Weir was boosted by an RBC Capital Markets upgrade from 'outperform' to 'top pick'.
Shares in Meggitt dropped sharply after it said profits dropped in the first half, reflecting the impact of currency headwinds and disposals on revenue. Underlying pre-tax profit sank 21% to £143.8m, well below analysts' forecasts.
Royal Mail Group's stock was dented by comments from Credit Suisse, which said it sees "no near-term positive catalysts" for the postal company. The bank slashed its target price for the shares
from 460p to 360p as it kept an 'underperform' recommendation, saying it expects Royal Mail to miss its margin targets.
IHG was also firmly lower after missing forecasts in the first half. The hotels group gave an upbeat outlook but said underlying operating profits rose 6% to $301m, missing the $305m consensus estimate. Marcato Capital Management, which owns, 4% of the company's share capital has taken on a financial adviser to carry out a strategic review of the hotel operator.
IAG came under selling pressure after Russian business daily Vedomosti reported that Russian authorities may cancel some European airlines' overflight rights of its airspace.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,576.00p +2.02%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,755.00p +1.81%
St James's Place (STJ) 727.50p +1.68%
Standard Life (SL.) 370.00p +1.54%
GKN (GKN) 349.60p +1.39%
ITV (ITV) 207.00p +1.37%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,008.00p +1.26%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,567.00p +1.14%
Next (NXT) 6,780.00p +1.12%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,740.00p +1.10%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Meggitt (MGGT) 479.70p -4.73%
Royal Mail (RMG) 405.50p -3.61%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,288.00p -3.26%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 317.50p -2.91%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,219.00p -2.17%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 337.50p -2.15%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,676.00p -1.59%
Fresnillo (FRES) 926.50p -1.59%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,255.00p -1.57%
Whitbread (WTB) 4,162.00p -1.51%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 148.20p +6.31%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 191.10p +4.88%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 263.50p +4.03%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 844.50p +3.62%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,398.00p +3.56%
Debenhams (DEB) 66.90p +2.61%
RPS Group (RPS) 251.60p +2.48%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 506.00p +2.43%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 322.50p +2.38%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 615.00p +2.33%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Afren (AFR) 98.10p -8.32%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 251.50p -4.01%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 150.50p -3.90%
Man Group (EMG) 116.70p -3.55%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 236.20p -3.20%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,232.00p -2.99%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 336.30p -2.97%
UBM (UBM) 602.00p -2.82%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 106.90p -2.73%
Redrow (RDW) 233.20p -2.63%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
SDL (SDL) 332.75p +6.57%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 3.05p +4.27%
RM (RM.) 160.00p +3.39%
Kofax Limited (DI) (KFX) 440.50p +2.44%
Skyepharma (SKP) 237.00p +1.72%
Promethean World (PRW) 28.50p +1.33%
Vectura Group (VEC) 138.75p +1.09%
Optos (OPTS) 189.75p +1.07%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,535.00p +0.99%
Innovation Group (TIG) 31.75p +0.79%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Gresham Computing (GHT) 117.00p -5.65%
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 93.00p -1.85%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 152.50p -1.61%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 17.00p -1.45%
Ricardo (RCDO) 616.00p -1.12%
Anite (AIE) 89.50p -0.83%
Microgen (MCGN) 123.50p -0.80%
Dialight (DIA) 891.00p -0.56%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 192.61 -0.32%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 101.50p -0.25%