The London market is holding higher, bouncing back strongly from Thursday's losses although miners have surrendered the lead to the likes of Melrose Industries and Serco.
The main reason for the advance continues to be the endorsement given by the President of the US Federal Reserve bank of St.Louis to the current generous monetary policy stance. Even more important, Bloomberg reported that Fed President Bernanke recently - in a meeting with dealers - talked down the risk of spawning asset bubbles.
Added to the above however, Germany's IFO business confidence index rose to 107.4 points in February versus a reading of 104.3 for the month before (Consensus: 104.9).
In particular, note must be taken of the fact that the improvement was led by the expectations gauge, which shot up to 104.6 points, from 101.4 in the month before, alongside a robust reading for manufacturing.
Not to be forgotten, speeches from at least another two Fed policy-makers are scheduled for this evening.
FTSE 100: G4S off on broker downgrade
G4S is moving lower after HSBC cut its rating on the stock to underweight from neutral. "Manned security pricing is very weak in many developed markets, which makes cost recovery difficult and squeezes gross margins," the broker commented.
Serco Group: Citigroup has shifted its target price from 670p to 680p, reiterating a buy recommendation.
Citigroup has raised its target price on Sainsbury from 315p to 385p while upgrading its shares
Aggreko, the temporary power and temperature control solutions group, has appointed David Taylor-Smith MBE as a director of the company, who will be responsible for Europe, Middle East and Africa, with effect from March 11th this year.
FTSE 250: Bumi leads losses after Rothschild is rebuffed
Financier Nat Rothschild was defeated last night in his bid to replace the board of Bumi, after shareholders rejected 19 of the 22 resolutions which he proposed. In general brokers believe that the resolution of the impasse on the company's board is a very big positive for the firm but they are divided as to what to do next. JP Morgan has reiterated its underweight stance on Bumi while Liberum has reinstated its buy recommendation.
Total full year revenue at Millennium & Copthorne Hotels declined by 6.4% from £820.5m to £768.3m, while headline operating profit slid 14.7% to £163.3m. Even so, revenue per available room (RevPAR) rose 3.9% from £64.81 to £67.32. As well, the dividend was increased to 13.59p from 12.50p a year earlier.
N+1 Singer has raised its target price on Spectris from 2135p to 2415p, while reiterating a hold recommendation.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Melrose Industries (MRO) 255.10p +3.83%
Serco Group (SRP) 587.00p +3.35%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 3,419.00p +3.01%
CRH (CRH) 1,374.00p +2.84%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 436.30p +2.59%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 346.40p +2.55%
Sage Group (SGE) 341.20p +2.49%
Evraz (EVR) 273.30p +2.47%
Experian (EXPN) 1,101.00p +2.32%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 861.00p +2.20%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
G4S (GFS) 285.80p -1.38%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 117.20p -0.68%
Pearson (PSON) 1,217.00p -0.41%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,229.50p -0.26%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,261.00p -0.24%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,839.00p -0.05%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 261.70p +0.04%
Compass Group (CPG) 804.50p +0.06%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,455.00p +0.09%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,444.50p +0.16%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Persimmon (PSN) 901.50p +4.52%
Spectris (SXS) 2,489.00p +3.75%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 388.50p +3.71%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 79.45p +3.25%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 394.50p +2.98%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 892.50p +2.88%
Telecity Group (TCY) 919.00p +2.80%
FirstGroup (FGP) 185.20p +2.77%
Man Group (EMG) 108.00p +2.66%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 495.80p +2.59%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Bumi (BUMI) 371.30p -5.11%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 548.50p -3.43%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 377.80p -2.20%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 717.00p -2.05%
Drax Group (DRX) 632.50p -1.86%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 127.10p -1.78%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 247.00p -1.75%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 992.50p -1.73%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,444.00p -1.60%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 81.00p -1.58%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Skyepharma (SKP) 70.00p +9.38%
Promethean World (PRW) 22.50p +3.45%
Optos (OPTS) 200.50p +2.56%
Xaar (XAR) 312.00p +2.30%
Kofax (KFX) 280.00p +2.19%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 19.50p +1.30%
Innovation Group (TIG) 25.00p +1.01%
NCC Group (NCC) 148.00p +0.68%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 710.00p +0.64%
Sepura (SEPU) 96.00p +0.52%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Hiwave Technologies (HIW) 0.15p -11.43%
RM (RM.) 75.00p -3.23%
Puricore (PURI) 45.50p -3.19%
Emblaze Ltd. (BLZ) 45.50p -2.67%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 2.30p -2.13%
Microgen (MCGN) 112.00p -1.75%
Vislink (VLK) 32.00p -1.54%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 75.75p -1.30%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 198.00p -1.00%
Parity Group (PTY) 26.50p -0.93%