- US agrees on budget deal ahead of Friday deadline
- RBS, Lloyds, StanChart lead banks lower
- Imagination plummets on cautious guidance
techMARK 2,683.01 +0.39%
FTSE 100 6,537.76 +0.22%
FTSE 250 15,471.94 +0.40%
UK markets edged higher on Wednesday morning, with concerns over politician brinkmanship in Washington eased overnight by a deal on the US budget.
However, upside was being limited by some losses in the banking sector as well a sharp fall by chip group Imagination Technologies after a poor outlook for its second half.
"Considering the chaos that hit the markets during October's US government shutdown, today's announcement of a cross party budget deal has gone surprisingly under the radar, with the FTSE eerily quiet ahead of an afternoon distinctly short of potential excitement," said Toby Morris, Senior Sales Trader at CMC Markets.
Democratic and Republicans on Tuesday night agreed on a budget deal ahead of the December 13th deadline to ease spending cuts for the next two years, removing the threat of a government shutdown next month.
While the budget still needs to be passed in both the Senate and the House, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the agreement "is a clear improvement on the status quo". "It makes sure we don't lurch from crisis to crisis," he said.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama labelled it as "a good first step".
Banks fall, Imagination plummets
RBS was also a heavy faller after the surprise exit of Finance Director Nathan Bostock after just 10 weeks in the position. He is to leave to become Deputy Chief Executive of the UK arm of Spanish banking group Santander.
Lloyds meanwhile was also lower after being fined £28m by UK regulators for "serious failings" relating to a staff bonus scheme. The scheme rewarded sales staff with bonuses even when products they sold customers were considered unsuitable.
Standard Chartered edged lower after Investec cut its target price for the stock from 1,900p to 1,700p. The broker, however, did keep a 'buy' rating, playing down concerns about capital at the emerging market-focused lender.
The share price of chip group Imagination Technologies sank sharply after the firm said that shipment growth from its partners for the second half would be at a "slightly lower rate than previously seen", due to slowing growth in the higher-end smartphone market.
Plumbers merchant Wolseley was making gains this morning after UBS recommended investors to 'buy' shares, saying the the stock "offers a relatively low risk investment in the context of the construction sector". The bank said it still sees some upside given the group's "solid growth prospects".
Cafe, hotel and restaurant owner Whitbread and travel tour operator TUI Travel were on the up this morning, bouncing after both disappointed the market with results yesterday.
Oxford Instruments was a high riser after Andor Technology recommended its £176m takeover of the AIM-listed camera maker.
Transport firm FirstGroup gained after rebuffing "flawed" restructuring proposals from US activist investor Sandell and said it planned to continue on its current strategy.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,197.00p +2.31%
BAE Systems (BA.) 424.00p +2.07%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,539.00p +1.84%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,292.00p +1.57%
TUI Travel (TT.) 383.10p +1.27%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,197.00p +1.27%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,207.00p +1.26%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,905.00p +1.22%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 766.00p +1.19%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 463.80p +1.13%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 329.30p -2.20%
Mondi (MNDI) 954.50p -2.10%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,549.00p -2.02%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,075.00p -1.59%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 77.25p -1.16%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 464.60p -0.73%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 287.90p -0.62%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,308.00p -0.61%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 842.50p -0.59%
Prudential (PRU) 1,281.00p -0.47%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,671.00p +6.71%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 501.50p +4.92%
Chemring Group (CHG) 214.50p +3.92%
FirstGroup (FGP) 120.40p +3.79%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 69.50p +3.65%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 215.40p +3.31%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 373.40p +3.21%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 168.90p +3.11%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 738.00p +3.00%
National Express Group (NEX) 268.50p +2.87%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 202.70p -18.59%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 891.50p -2.78%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,421.00p -2.60%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 19.28p -2.53%
Dialight (DIA) 825.50p -2.31%
esure Group (ESUR) 238.00p -2.06%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 100.30p -1.76%
NMC Health (NMC) 410.80p -1.72%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 635.50p -1.70%
Investec (INVP) 415.20p -1.70%