- FTSE sinks 22 points
- Retailers drop on discounting concerns
- CBI urges firms to do more to encourage employee development
techMARK 2,782.57 -0.16%
FTSE 100 6,731.69 -0.28%
FTSE 250 15,905.79 +0.17%
The FTSE has dropped into negative territory this lunchtime, weighed down by retailers on what is its final full day of trading in 2013.
Although stocks got off to a positive start this morning, however concerns that heavy discounting in the sales may offset the increase shoppers has pushed the likes of Sainsbury, M&S, and Sports Direct firmly lower.
There is little in the way of economic data due out this week, with trading volumes and company news also both light ahead of tomorrow's half day and Wednesday's Bank Holiday.
Craig Erlam, Market Analyst for Alpari, said: "It's been a very quiet start to the week so far, which is hardly surprising given the time of year. As we tend to see around this time, trading volumes have been very low and this is likely to continue into year end, with many traders extending their holidays a couple of extra days.
"This isn't helped by the lack of catalysts in the markets around this time of year, with the economic calendar looking very light and corporate earnings season not starting for a couple more weeks. There is a couple of pieces of data being released in the US on Monday, although both are unlikely to have much of an impact on the markets."
Macro wise, house prices climbed 4.4% in 2013, data from Hometrack has showed. This compares positively to the 0.3% decline registered in 2012. Demand over the past 12 months rocketed 25%, compared to the number of homes for sale rising just six.
Director of Research, Richard Donnell, revealed that demand grew at the fastest rate for three years, while the supply of homes for sale grew at the lowest level recorded over the 12 year history of the survey.
Stephen Smith, Director of Legal & General Network, said: "The Hometrack house price rises recorded today, including a 9% year on year rise in London, will continue to fuel speculation that prices may be rising too quickly. However, it's worth remembering what the market looked like before government stimulus was introduced. It is also worth remembering that Help to Buy is a temporary measure. Mark Carney has already said he will review Help to Buy very carefully to make sure the market isn't overheating."
Elsewhere, John Cridland, the head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has told UK firms they need to give employees more support to move up the career ladder as the economic recovery builds.
In the lobby group's New Year address, Cridland called on business to offer "more opportunities" to employees as too many people are stuck on minimum wage.
With businesses set to expand for the first time since the start of the recession, "this is no time to rest on our laurels", Cridland believes.
In other news, a think tank has warned that as interest rates are increased millions of UK households will be hit with "perilous" levels of debt. The Resolution Foundation said: "Even if we take a somewhat rosy view of how the economy will develop over the next few years the number of households severely exposed to debt looks as though it will double."
It predicted that if rates are increased to 3%, those using over half their disposable incomes to repay debt could increase to 1.1m from 0.6m over the next four years.
Reports claim government is planning to sell stake in Lloyds
It has been reported the UK government could sell its 33% stake in Lloyds Banking Group in 2014, sources told The Telegraph.
The government's holding, currently worth £18.4bn, is understood to be sold off within the next 12 months. It will be sold through a combination of institutional sales and a nationwide offering to the public.
In other company news, Al Noor Hospitals Group, the largest private healthcare service provider in Abu Dhabi, has acquired the Gulf International Cancer Centre (GICC), which offers a range of treatments in Oncology. The $21.8m purchase is part of the company's strategy to broaden its range of services and add new core competencies.
Nyota Minerals has completed the sale of a 75% stake in its Ethiopian subsidiary to KEFI Minerals. Nyota and KEFI are now joint venture partners in the business which owns the Tulu Kapi Gold Project in Ethiopia.
A number of stocks are due to go ex-dividend tomorrow, including Experian, Aveva, Halma, ICAP and KCOM.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Mondi (MNDI) 1,045.00p +1.85%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,218.00p +1.33%
Fresnillo (FRES) 744.50p +1.29%
Amec (AMEC) 1,092.00p +1.20%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,166.00p +1.07%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,321.50p +0.92%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,040.00p +0.74%
G4S (GFS) 261.70p +0.69%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,343.00p +0.67%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 856.00p +0.65%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 371.70p -1.77%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,514.00p -1.43%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 264.40p -1.23%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 720.00p -1.17%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 445.00p -1.16%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,215.00p -1.15%
Tesco (TSCO) 336.20p -1.12%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,822.00p -1.09%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 78.02p -1.04%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,475.00p -1.01%
FTSE 250 - Risers
International Personal Finance (IPF) 488.30p +7.27%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 20.60p +5.80%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 176.10p +4.82%
Evraz (EVR) 113.50p +3.84%
RPS Group (RPS) 339.40p +3.13%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 926.00p +2.72%
Telecity Group (TCY) 719.00p +2.57%
Carillion (CLLN) 329.40p +1.89%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 2,368.00p +1.85%
Catlin Group Ltd. (CGL) 588.00p +1.82%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
IP Group (IPO) 158.50p -3.65%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 116.10p -3.17%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 438.60p -2.10%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 294.00p -2.00%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 129.00p -1.53%
Diploma (DPLM) 700.00p -1.48%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 728.50p -1.35%
Xaar (XAR) 1,107.00p -1.34%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 326.00p -1.30%
Britvic (BVIC) 685.50p -1.30%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,630.00p +2.52%
RM (RM.) 112.75p +2.50%
Vectura Group (VEC) 141.75p +0.89%
Innovation Group (TIG) 34.75p +0.72%
Electronic Data Processing (EDP) 70.50p +0.71%
Ricardo (RCDO) 672.50p +0.45%
Sepura (SEPU) 135.50p +0.37%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 177.40 +0.14%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Vislink (VLK) 44.00p -2.76%
SDL (SDL) 350.50p -2.64%
Kofax Limited (DI) (KFX) 416.75p -2.23%
Torotrak (TRK) 19.75p -1.86%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 153.00p -1.77%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 2.33p -1.69%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 19.50p -1.27%
NCC Group (NCC) 185.00p -1.20%
Dialight (DIA) 840.00p -1.12%