- FTSE closes up 13.45 at 6,816.37
- UK construction drives gains
- StanChart lifted by private equity sale rumours
techMARK 2,832.57 0.00%
FTSE 100 6,816.37 +0.20%
FTSE 250 15,897.11 +0.35%
London's blue chips closed with modest gains today, coming off a sharp dip this morning, but with limited movement throughout the latter part of this afternoon's session.
The FTSE 100 closed 13.45 higher at 6,816.37, lifted by a rise in UK construction growth, although gains continued to be limited ahead of further data due out tomorrow.
Output growth in the British construction sector picked up to a four-month high in June, while job creation reached its best level on record. The Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 62.6 last month, up from a seven-month low of 60.0 in May.
"The headline index has now posted above the 50.0 no-change threshold for 14 months running and the latest reading signalled the strongest pace of overall output growth since February," the survey said.
FTSE sitting above 6,800 mark
Giving his assessment of today's session, Chris Beauchamp, Market Analyst at IG commented: "The FTSE has remained comfortably above 6,800 for most of the day, and investors can be pleased with their work so far. Any bigger gain might have been viewed as irrational exuberance ahead of non-farm payrolls that would leave the index open to a nasty drop on Friday when US markets are out of the picture.
"Instead, quiet trading will now predominate, with a little bit of deflation entering traders' minds after the latest blow to British sporting hopes with the departure of Murray from Wimbledon."
House prices rise at fastest pace since Jan 2005
In other UK data, house prices rose in June at the fastest annual pace since January 2005, figures from Nationwide revealed. House prices climbed 1% month-on-month in June after a 0.7% rise in May, taking the annual rate of increase to 11.8%, the biggest rise in more than nine years.
London continued to outpace the UK, with house prices in the three months to June up 25.8% on a year ago, the greatest annual increase since the third quarter of 1987. Prices in the capital are now 30% above their 2007 peak, with the average price of a London property at £400,404.
Over in the States, private-sector hiring last month increased to the highest level since November 2012, according to Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Research Institute. ADP said that private payrolls jumped by 281,000 in June, compared with just 179,000 in May.
The figure smashed forecasts by analysts who had expected a rise to just 205,000 on average.
"The June jobs number is a welcome boost," said Carlos Rodriguez, President and Chief Executive Officer of ADP. "The number of construction jobs added was particularly encouraging, representing the highest total in that industry since February of 2006."
Closer to home, the number of registered unemployed in Spain fell by 122,684 people. This clocked in below the 150,100 decline forecast by the consensus of economists.
"Of course, it's going to be a long time before this improvement is felt in the country and we begin to see sustainable strong growth, but these early signs are encouraging," said Craig Erlam, Analyst at Alpari UK.
Standard Chartered jumps of rumours of private equity sales
Standard Chartered jumped on reports the group is intending to dispose of $500m-worth of private equity investments.
Quoting two people "with knowledge of the situation", Bloomberg said the lender is expected to sell minority holdings in companies across a number of countries. The speculation comes after the group last year began reducing its private equity employee numbers by around 12% to about 100.
Canaccord Genuity lifted BG Group to 'buy' from 'hold' and raised its target price from 1,250p to 1,450p.
Meanwhile, Royal Mail, Burberry, De La Rue, Cranswick, Dairy Crest, Homeserve and TalkTalk Telecom Group all headed south after going ex-dividend.
easyJet flew lower after Barclays reduced its target price from 1,900p to 1,700p.
Online grocer Ocado was rebounding strongly after a heavy fall the previous day with analysts at Deutsche Bank providing a lift by upgrading the stock to 'hold'. The company underwhelmed the market with its interim results on Tuesday, but the bank said it now sees limited downside to its target price.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,222.00p +2.43%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 914.50p +2.24%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 3,097.00p +2.14%
BG Group (BG.) 1,272.50p +2.04%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 781.50p +1.56%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 432.00p +1.17%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,239.50p +1.16%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,353.00p +1.12%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,418.50p +1.12%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,041.00p +1.07%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Mail (RMG) 479.10p -2.46%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 364.40p -2.31%
Pearson (PSON) 1,134.00p -2.24%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,048.00p -2.06%
BAE Systems (BA.) 424.70p -1.80%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,325.00p -1.78%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 896.00p -1.43%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,282.00p -1.31%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,460.00p -1.28%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,661.00p -1.13%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 403.80p +13.75%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 199.10p +3.97%
CSR (CSR) 610.00p +3.92%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,850.00p +3.76%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 66.50p +3.58%
Carillion (CLLN) 343.50p +3.09%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 325.40p +2.81%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 367.00p +2.80%
Hays (HAS) 151.10p +2.58%
Lonmin (LMI) 245.40p +2.55%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 386.10p -6.29%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,267.00p -4.38%
De La Rue (DLAR) 782.00p -3.46%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,271.00p -2.90%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 470.00p -2.69%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 324.70p -2.52%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 185.80p -2.36%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 355.70p -2.23%
ITE Group (ITE) 238.30p -2.06%
NMC Health (NMC) 478.00p -1.91%