- FTSE down 8.42 at 6,813.04
- Q2 GDP in line with expectations at 0.8%
- RBS leads, BSkyB in bottom spot
- Carillion and Balfour in merger talks
techMARK 2,810.19 -0.42%
FTSE 100 6,814.09 -0.11%
FTSE 250 15,740.00 -0.06%
London's blue chips remained in the red by lunchtime despite a strong performance by the banking sector and an in-line second quarter growth figure.
The FTSE 100 was down 8.42 at 6,813.04 at the midday point.
UK gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 0.8% in the second quarter as had been widely expected, data published on Friday showed.
The figure means the UK is now back at levels seen prior to the recession.
Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at manufacturers' organisation EEF, said: "This confirms the solid momentum in the economy, underpinned by a fifth consecutive quarter of manufacturing expansion [...] Nevertheless, policy makers can't yet afford to take the summer off. We still have a hill to climb in building the right conditions for companies to invest in and, export from, the UK."
Over in Germany, consumer sentiment rose to its highest level since December 2006. The index climbed to 9.0 from 8.9 the prior month, surprising analysts who had expected no change.
However, business sentiment in the country declined for a third consecutive month in July, according to the Ifo's business climate index, which dropped from 109.7 to 108.0, which it attributed in part to recent geopolitical tensions.
Later on, US June durable goods orders data will be published and is expected to deliver a 0.5% increase in orders.
RBS continues to lead after H1 profit surprise
RBS delivered a better-than-expected first half operating performance, but said no one at the 80% taxpayer-owned bank was "complacent about the challenges ahead".
The results, which came a week earlier than scheduled, showed operating profit totalled £2.6bn, or £3.3bn excluding restructuring and litigation and conduct costs, compared with £1.59bn in the same period a year earlier. The gains were driven by more favourable credit conditions and good results from RBS Capital Resolution, and came despite a 6% decline in total income to £9.9bn.
Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group were also higher on the news.
Lloyds' gains came despite it confirming that it is in late-stage settlement discussions with a number of government agencies related to interbank rate setting procedures. It said the settlements had yet to be agreed, but it anticipates they will include penalty payments.
climbed despite the publishing group posting a fall in first half profit.
Sainsbury is rising after market sources yesterday suggested Qataris is poised to make another bid for the supermarket chain at 500p or more per share.
Vodafone was higher after the decline in its service revenue was lower than had been expected after the losses in Europe were partly offset by gains in African and India.
On the downside BSkyB failed to impress with its full-year results and announcement that it is buying the entire stake of Sky Italia and a 57.4% interest in Sky Deutschland from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. The group will pay £2.45bn for Sky Italia and £2.9bn for Sky Deutschland.
FTSE 250 constituents Carillion and Balfour Beatty leapt after they confirmed rumours they are in discussions about a possible merger. The preliminary talks are to develop a strategy and outline a business plan for a combined entity, which it said would be "underpinned by the evaluation of achievable synergies, future financing arrangements and a number of other essential supporting workstreams".
FTSE 100 - Risers
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 370.30p +12.62%
Pearson (PSON) 1,133.00p +2.91%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,626.50p +2.62%
Barclays (BARC) 219.30p +2.24%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 323.80p +2.15%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 200.75p +1.47%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 74.97p +1.38%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 877.00p +1.27%
Aviva (AV.) 511.00p +0.99%
St James's Place (STJ) 800.50p +0.88%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 884.50p -4.38%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,127.00p -2.17%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,417.00p -1.80%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,443.00p -1.80%
Rexam (REX) 515.00p -1.62%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 365.40p -1.54%
British Land Co (BLND) 720.00p -1.50%
Hammerson (HMSO) 596.00p -1.49%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,485.00p -1.46%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 893.00p -1.22%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Carillion (CLLN) 370.20p +9.36%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 253.20p +9.09%
Lonmin (LMI) 239.00p +4.05%
Bodycote (BOY) 709.50p +3.65%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 261.80p +3.07%
Interserve (IRV) 648.00p +2.86%
Countrywide (CWD) 478.00p +2.77%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,899.00p +2.76%
Essentra (ESNT) 798.50p +2.70%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 330.40p +2.20%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Spectris (SXS) 1,958.00p -6.54%
Exova Group (EXO) 221.20p -5.87%
AO World (AO.) 211.90p -3.33%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 343.90p -2.85%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 356.00p -2.44%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,079.00p -2.35%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 179.90p -2.28%
Derwent London (DLN) 2,730.00p -2.08%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 161.00p -2.07%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 461.90p -2.06%