- Turkey hikes rates, lira strengthens but gains pared
- Antofagasta, Anglo American, Randgold impress with updates
- Sainsbury falls after King departure
- Barclays considering branch closures, job cuts
techMARK 2,784.36 +0.10%
FTSE 100 6,578.86 +0.10%
FTSE 250 15,808.49 +0.59%
UK markets had come off their highs by midday on Wednesday ahead of a policy decision in the States as a rate hike in Turkey failed to ease investors' concerns about emerging markets.
Mining stocks were leading the upside in London this morning after some well-received production updates from Antofagasta, Anglo American and Randgold. However, Sainsbury was leading the fallers after the surprise exit of its long-running boss Justin King.
The FTSE 100 was trading just 0.1% higher at 6,579 by lunchtime, having erased nearly all of its gains which sent it to an intraday high of 6,640 early on.
Stocks were initially given a boost by Turkey's move last night to hike interest rates in an effort to halt the recent slide in the lira which reached a record-low against the dollar
on Monday. After an emergency policy meeting, the central bank lifted the overnight funding rate from 7.75% to 12% and raised the one-week lending rate from 4.5% to 10%.
"While the rate hike has helped stem lira weakness in the short term, it increases the chances of slower growth and a domestic credit crunch in the medium term," said analysts at RBS. They said that the decision highlights the "dilemma" being faced by other emerging-market central banks.
The lira strengthened this morning and was up 1.7% to 2.2154 per dollar, but had pared an earlier advance which had sent it up as much as 4% against the US currency. Other developing-nation currencies also trimmed earlier gains today.
Investors were also showing cautions ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting which concludes later this evening.
The central bank, which began scaling back its monthly asset purchases in December from $85bn to $75bn, is expected make another $10bn cut this month, according to the consensus forecast.
Miners in focus
Chilean miner Antofagasta was a high riser this morning after unveiling a record year of copper production for 2013, supported by a strong output performance in the fourth quarter.
Anglo American also impressed as it reported an increase in fourth-quarter iron ore, copper, nickel and thermal coal production.
Meanwhile, Randgold Resources rose after saying that its Loulo-Gounkoto gold mine in Mali is likely to beat its revised production target for 2013.
Other miners including Fresnillo and Rio Tinto were also putting in a solid performance this morning.
Heading the other way was supermarket group Sainsbury after announcing that Chief Executive King would be stepping down in the summer. King, widely regarded as having revived the chain's fortunes in his 10 years in charge, will be succeeded by Group Commercial Director Mike Coupe.
Financials were in demand as risk appetite continued to recover after recent volatility. Barclays was among the best performers on reports that it is looking at closing a quarter of its High Street branches in the coming years and could be making 40,000 job cuts.
Carphone Warehouse jumped after being signed as the preferred partner of Samsung Electronics to operate more than 60 Samsung stand-alone stores across Europe.
Luxury handbag and fashion group Mulberry plunged following a profit warning after UK Christmas trading fell short of hopes due to rival price-cutting.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Antofagasta (ANTO) 871.00p +5.90%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,410.50p +4.99%
Fresnillo (FRES) 781.00p +3.99%
ITV (ITV) 200.30p +1.88%
Barclays (BARC) 278.40p +1.87%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,144.00p +1.66%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,169.00p +1.56%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 783.50p +1.36%
TUI Travel (TT.) 423.50p +1.32%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,355.00p +1.21%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 349.90p -1.91%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 850.50p -1.90%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,655.00p -1.66%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,985.00p -1.61%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 726.50p -1.42%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,300.00p -1.02%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 99.95p -0.94%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,586.50p -0.94%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 340.70p -0.93%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,197.00p -0.90%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 290.00p +7.73%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,195.00p +4.52%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 298.70p +3.54%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,554.00p +3.53%
Inchcape (INCH) 604.50p +2.98%
Lonmin (LMI) 323.80p +2.76%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 134.60p +2.75%
Intu Properties (INTU) 329.00p +2.68%
Halfords Group (HFD) 461.90p +2.64%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 351.10p +2.60%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
BTG (BTG) 580.50p -4.13%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 218.60p -3.45%
NMC Health (NMC) 470.70p -1.94%
Pennon Group (PNN) 685.00p -1.93%
Genus (GNS) 1,306.00p -1.43%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,065.00p -1.39%
888 Holdings (888) 141.00p -1.26%
UBM (UBM) 703.00p -1.26%
Investec (INVP) 393.10p -1.18%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 380.70p -1.17%