- LSE jumps after $2.7bn purchase of Frank Russell
- Housebuilders jump as Carney announces "soft" measures to cool housing
- Barclays facing allegations of fraud
- StanChart reports "disappointing first half"
techMARK 2,800.86 +0.42%
FTSE 100 6,733.63 0.00%
FTSE 250 15,595.09 +0.91%
UK markets were trading more or less flat on Thursday as strong gains from London Stock Exchange (LSE) and a host of housing stocks were offset by some heavy falls from banking giants Barclays and Standard Chartered.
LSE surged as investors gave a warm welcome to its acquisition of the Russell Indexes, while housebuilders breathed a sigh of relief at softer-than-expected measures from the Bank of England (BoE) to cool the housing market.
However, a lawsuit involving Barclays and a "disappointing first half" from StanChart sent both stocks sharply into the red.
The FTSE 100 was more or less unchanged by midday after hitting a two-month low of 6,733.62 on Wednesday.
Stocks fell sharply yesterday after a much-worse-than-expected downwards revision to US gross domestic product (GDP) estimates for the first quarter. However, Wall Street stocks performed resiliently last night as "traders view yesterday's poor revision [...] as a reason for a dovish Federal Reserve who will not raise interest rates any time soon", said Wei-lin Fanelli from ETX Capital.
BoE Governor Mark Carney was in focus this morning after announcing a series of measures to tighten up on mortgage lending. He said that "the biggest risks [to the recovery] relate to the housing market".
The Financial Stability Report proposed a new "affordability test" for stricter rules on lending, and also recommended a cap on loan-to-income ratios, though these measures were more "mild" than the market was anticipating, according to Tony Wilson from FEXCO. He said this "relief" sparked a rise in the pound to a high of 1.7034 against the dollar, compared with 1.6984 on Wednesday.
LSE, housing stocks rise
LSE is spending $2.7bn in cash on buying Frank Russell Company in a deal that will combine the groups' Russell and FTSE index businesses. Investors seemingly gave a thumbs up to the acquisition with shares
rising strongly despite the announcement that it will be part-financed by a $1.6bn rights issue, which is intrinsically dilutive.
Housebuilders Persimmon, Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley all jumped strongly as investors reacted to the new BoE measures to cool the housing market. Alastair Stewart from Westhouse Securities said that the measures were "less draconian than many observers have feared".
Heading the other way was Barclays after confirming that it is subject to a lawsuit from the New York Attorney General related to alleged fraud in the bank's 'dark pool' equity-trading business.
Emerging markets-focused counterpart StanChart slumped after saying it faced difficult trading conditions across the global financial markets during the first six months of 2014. Revenues in the first half are expected to be down by a "mid single-digit percentage" on last year while operating profits have fallen around 20%.
Online gaming group bwin.party was a high riser this morning, but had come off its highs by noon after denying reports it is considering a full or partial sale.
Ophir Energy's 50%-owned Okala-1 well did not find significant hydrocarbons in the target areas, the company said today, marking a disappointing end to its 2014 exploration campaign in Gabon.
Consumer goods packaging firm DS Smith declined despite saying that full-year pre-tax profit more than doubled to £167m in the 12 months to April 30th.
FTSE 100 - Risers
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,984.00p +6.10%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,247.00p +4.00%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 359.00p +3.67%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,628.00p +2.97%
St James's Place (STJ) 769.50p +2.67%
ITV (ITV) 173.40p +2.30%
IMI (IMI) 1,488.00p +2.27%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,043.00p +2.22%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 859.50p +2.14%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 193.70p +2.05%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barclays (BARC) 219.10p -4.74%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,202.00p -4.41%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,055.00p -1.37%
Fresnillo (FRES) 848.50p -1.11%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,483.50p -1.09%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,814.00p -1.09%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 595.90p -0.95%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 878.00p -0.90%
Carnival (CCL) 2,213.00p -0.63%
TUI Travel (TT.) 386.00p -0.59%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Supergroup (SGP) 1,026.00p +8.06%
Redrow (RDW) 266.00p +5.89%
CSR (CSR) 579.50p +5.17%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 109.70p +4.98%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 278.50p +4.82%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 97.00p +4.70%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 260.70p +4.36%
Bellway (BWY) 1,552.00p +3.95%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,368.00p +3.50%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 863.50p +3.41%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 220.90p -6.71%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 289.60p -5.14%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,069.00p -4.98%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 231.00p -3.95%
Perform Group (PER) 240.30p -3.42%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 138.30p -1.85%
Lonmin (LMI) 241.80p -1.43%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 200.60p -1.23%
William Hill (WMH) 324.50p -1.22%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,343.00p -1.03%