- FTSE climbs ahead of US data release
- BP continues to perform strongly
- UK mortgage approvals rise
techMARK 2,649.71 +0.34%
FTSE 100 6,763.02 +0.55%
FTSE 250 15,485.84 +0.37%
The FTSE 100 extended earlier gains, and was up 40 points by the midday point, led by oil giant BP following an impressive quarterly report, as investors await the release of important US data over the next few hours.
In other news, UK mortgage approvals have hit a high, totalling 66,735 in September - a level not seen since February 2008. The Bank of England also revealed that the effective interest rate on new mortgage lending dropped to a record low at 3.3% - the lowest level since records began in 2004.
As energy firms face tough questioning from MPs, a damning report has been released which calls for "greater fairness in terms of costs charged to energy consumers" and suggests bills could be £70 cheaper if competition between companies was increased.
Will Straw, an associate director of IPPR, which issued the report, said: "The key question for the Big Six is why profits of 5-6% are acceptable in a competitive market. In 1998, as the market was liberalised, the regulator believed 1.5% was an adequate margin for energy suppliers. Profits in other sectors like supermarkets are as low as 2%."
Strong focus on US data and Fed meeting
Both retail sales and consumer confidence figures in the US will be released this afternoon, with the former expected to remain little changed, while the latter is tipped to fall in October. The index for consumer sentiment will drop to 75 this month from 79.7 in September, economists forecast.
Later on the Fed will kick off its two-day policy meeting and will announce its decision on whether to alter its monetary policy a day later.
BP in top spot after divi boost
BP has raised its dividend 5.6% to 9.5 cents a share after third quarter earnings fell less than expected. Profit adjusted for one-time items and inventory changes declined to $3.7bn from $5bn a year earlier, beating $3.4bn forecast.
Insurance companies also provided a lift, with relieved shareholders expressing their confidence after the recent storm proved to be largely tamer than had been expected.
Meanwhile, leading the downside was Randgold Resources, retreating one day after shares
rose strongly on reports of plans for further exploration in Cote d'Ivoire.
Close behind was Lloyds Banking Group, which swung to a pre-tax profit of £1.7bn in the first nine months of the year from a loss of £607m in the same period in 2012, but saw a £750m increase in its PPI bill, pushing shares firmly lower. Altogether, the company has paid £8bn in relation to PPI.
A rating reduction from Nomura pushed shares in Coca-Cola HBC into the red, with the stock now rated as 'reduce'.
Standard Chartered was also lower after it revealed it had cut around 2,000 jobs this year, with the trend set to continue. The firm reported a slight increase in operating profit for the year to date due to tight cost controls. In a trading update for the nine months ended September 30th, the financial services company said it delivered a resilient performance despite an uncertain macro environment.
ITV shares were hit by a downgrade from Berenberg, which reduced its rating on the stock from 'hold' to 'sell', although increased its target price from 91p to 155p.
FTSE 100 - Risers
BP (BP.) 472.80p +4.58%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,271.00p +2.50%
Standard Life (SL.) 371.80p +2.40%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,245.00p +1.72%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 882.00p +1.38%
Aviva (AV.) 441.30p +1.26%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,644.50p +1.23%
Amec (AMEC) 1,175.00p +1.21%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 480.70p +1.20%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,162.00p +1.17%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,735.00p -2.39%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,020.00p -2.11%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 78.11p -1.90%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 361.50p -1.90%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,581.00p -1.68%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 446.80p -1.61%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,798.00p -1.37%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 944.50p -1.31%
ITV (ITV) 189.60p -1.20%
WPP (WPP) 1,324.00p -0.75%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 428.60p +5.59%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 524.00p +4.38%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 125.30p +3.98%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 141.00p +2.99%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 781.50p +2.90%
Redrow (RDW) 261.20p +2.51%
Countrywide (CWD) 573.00p +2.32%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 521.50p +2.25%
Chemring Group (CHG) 223.70p +2.15%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 314.00p +2.08%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 166.60p -4.31%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 21.22p -3.55%
Regus (RGU) 199.00p -2.83%
Dialight (DIA) 1,111.00p -1.94%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 119.00p -1.90%
F&C Asset Management (FCAM) 103.10p -1.81%
EnQuest (ENQ) 133.20p -1.77%
Evraz (EVR) 123.60p -1.75%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 167.10p -1.71%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 598.50p -1.48%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Vislink (VLK) 50.25p +3.08%
Ricardo (RCDO) 598.00p +1.53%
Kofax (KFX) 375.25p +1.42%
Anite (AIE) 88.25p +0.86%
SDL (SDL) 256.50p +0.59%
Optos (OPTS) 158.75p +0.32%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 178.82 +0.12%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 143.50p -2.05%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 883.50p -0.73%
Promethean World (PRW) 19.00p -0.65%
Vectura Group (VEC) 112.50p -0.44%
Sepura (SEPU) 146.50p -0.34%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,600.00p -0.06%