- UK inflation jumps to 1.9% in June
- Carney highlights housing concerns
- German ZEW survey disappoints
- Yellen, US data in focus later on
techMARK 2,781.35 -0.46%
FTSE 100 6,722.11 -0.36%
FTSE 250 15,478.79 -0.64%
Rate-hike speculation in the UK and disappointing economic data from Germany saw London stocks slip into the red by lunchtime on Tuesday.
A good performance by mining heavyweights was being outweighed by weakness among housebuilders, with investors concerned about how future policy tightening will affect the demand for mortgages.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.4% lower at 6,722 by around midday, having erased gains after hitting a high of 6,764 early on.
Stocks wobbled mid-morning after it was revealed that UK consumer-price inflation had jumped to an annual rate of 1.9% in June, up from 1.5% in May and just below the Bank of England's (BoE) target of 2%. Analysts had expected a small acceleration to 1.6%.
Economist David Tinsley from BNP Paribas said: "Overall, some of this upward surprise may be the usual noise from timing and seasonal issues. But it's hard not to conclude that this looks like a good old fashioned UK inflation shock. If it persists in coming months it can only intensify the debate on the Monetary Policy Committee."
Meanwhile, BoE Governor Mark Carney appeared before lawmakers this morning to discuss last month's half-yearly Financial Stability report as he highlighted concerns with the UK housing market.
However, on the subject of rate hikes, he said the rate cycle "will be driven by the data [...]. We were concerned that markets were not reacting to data, a fairly long run of data, that was as good as expected, if not slightly better".
The ZEW agency in Germany said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months ahead, declined to 27.1 in July from 29.8 in June. Economists had predicted a drop to 28.2.
"July's fall in German ZEW investor sentiment added to signs of a slowdown in the euro-zone's largest and strongest economy," Capital Economics said.
Later on, Janet Yellen will be in focus as the Federal Reserve chief gives her semi-annual testimony to the Senate Committee. US retail sales and the Empire State manufacturing index will also be closely watched by markets.
Miners gain, housebuilders fall
A small rise in the prices of gold and silver helped precious metal miners Fresnillo, African Barrick Gold and Randgold to rise this morning. Gold prices were recovering after their biggest decline this year on Monday as the demand for safe-haven assets dropped on the back of renewed appetite for equities.
Other miners such as BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Rio Tinto were also making gains.
Housing and construction stocks dropped into negative territory as investors reacted to a surprise jump in inflation and comments from Carney. Barratt Developments, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Redrow and Bovis Homes were all out of favour, along with estate agent chains Foxtons and Countrywide.
Strong customer growth in the first quarter at Telecom Plus led to increasing confidence that the utility supplier will hit full-year profits expectations of 50% growth. Shares in the FTSE 250 company surged after it said it expected to gain increasing customers in the coming months due to regulatory changes in the energy industry.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 937.00p +1.90%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,519.50p +1.20%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,016.00p +1.15%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,135.00p +0.98%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,256.00p +0.96%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,927.00p +0.94%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 460.00p +0.92%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 193.75p +0.86%
Royal Mail (RMG) 487.10p +0.85%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 883.00p +0.74%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 357.20p -3.01%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,123.00p -2.60%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 705.00p -2.49%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,161.00p -2.08%
Schroders (SDR) 2,482.00p -2.01%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,638.00p -1.86%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,226.00p -1.84%
St James's Place (STJ) 750.00p -1.77%
Aviva (AV.) 487.30p -1.58%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,416.00p -1.53%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,328.00p +7.27%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 235.00p +3.71%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 389.30p +3.02%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 532.50p +2.90%
Exova Group (EXO) 246.50p +2.71%
Michael Page International (MPI) 439.50p +2.71%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,873.00p +2.55%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 135.00p +2.04%
Grainger (GRI) 219.80p +2.04%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 226.10p +1.53%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Fenner (FENR) 344.10p -3.61%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 109.20p -3.45%
Redrow (RDW) 243.10p -3.34%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 178.20p -3.15%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 439.80p -2.66%
Pace (PIC) 345.40p -2.57%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 753.50p -2.52%
Unite Group (UTG) 407.70p -2.46%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 2,262.00p -2.25%
Aveva Group (AVV) 1,996.00p -2.25%