- Strong Chinese PMI data
- PBoC restarts lending to policy banks
- Royal Mail lower despite promising results
- SAB Miller buoyed by emerging markets
techMARK 2,743.04 +0.28%
FTSE 100 6,826.17 +0.08%
FTSE 250 15,656.67 +0.34%
Stocks were flatlining come midday as the morning´s gains dissipated ahead of data on the state of the US housing and labour market due out later in the day.
What some analysts interpreted as a dovish set of Fed minutes overnight, alongside better than expected data out of the Asian giant and reports that China´s central bank had restarted lending to its main so-called 'policy banks', had given a modest boost to London equities on Thursday morning.
The FTSE 100 was trading higher by 19 points at the 6,840.27 point mark as of 09:05.
The situation in emerging markets continues to bear watching Thursday´s news flow showed. Mid-morning, news broke that the Thai military had seized power in Bangkok, although for now most analysts seem to consider such ructions to be a fairly typical - even if unfortunate - feature of the southeast Asian nation´s political landscape.
At noon, Turkey´s central bank surprised traders by announcing a cut in its benchmark repurchase rate to 9.5% from 10%.
Acting as a backdrop, Ukraine´s acting Prime Minister called for a meeting of the UN Security Council.
Analysts react with caution to Chinese economic statistics
The HSBC Chinese manufacturing PMI came in at 49.7 for May, notably ahead of the 48.3 that had been expected and above the previous month's reading of 48.1.
That implies a strengthening in sequential growth momentum to 6.8% in annualised terms in the second quarter from the 5.8% seen over the first three months of the year, Barclays Research pointed out.
However, Barclays analysts Serena Zhou and Jian Chiang added that: "We have noted the risks of a property bubble bursting and think the ongoing correction in the property market remains a key to watch for growth and policy response."
Precisely in that regard, 21st Century Business reported overnight that the People´s Bank of China (PBoC), the country´s central bank, has provided between 300-500bn yuan in fresh funds to China Development Bank to be used for the government's public housing program.
Fed rate rise not imminent
US stocks ended higher after the Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed officials were forecasting a rebound in growth.
The Fed last month decided to taper monthly bond purchases by a further $10bn to $45bn, citing improvements in the economy and in the jobs market.
A European-based strategist from one of Wall Street´s largest brokers highlighted to Sharecast that the minutes main message is that a rate rise is not "imminent". As far as the Fed is concerned maintaining current stimulus so as to lower unemployment does not equate to significant inflation risks down the road.
Emerging markets prop up volumes at SABMiller
A taste for lager among drinkers in emerging markets helped annual adjusted profits to fizz up by 2% to $5.7bn at brewing group SABMiller, although volumes declined in Europe and North America.
Daily Mail & General Trust unveiled plans to float property website Zoopla as the newspaper publisher's half-year underlying operating profits rose 21% to £160m.
Royal Mail reported a 2% rise in annual revenue to £9.45bn in its first full-year results since floating on the London Stock Exchange in October 2013. The company said parcel deliveries were the biggest contributor to growth, offsetting a fall in letter delivery revenue. "A promising set of results was eclipsed by the company's clear concerns around Universal Service pricing," Richard Hunter, Head of Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented.
Unilever has agreed to sell its North America pasta sauces brands, Ragu and Bertolli, for $2.15bn cash to Japan's Mizkan Group. The annual turnover for Ragu and Bertolli is more than $600m.
UK water and wastewater giant United Utilities delivered a strong set of annual results and believes there is scope to deliver further improvements. The group also confirmed it is working closely with Ofwat, ahead of submission of its revised business plan at the end of June. Customers are set to benefit from below inflation growth in average household bills for the decade to 2020, it explained.
First-half like-for-like sales were sluggish at pubco Mitchells & Butlers, with profits and earnings flat, but in line with expectations.
LFL sales were 1.1% in the 28 weeks ended April 12th, down from 2.2% in the first quarter, with better cost control helping earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to remain flat at £204m and pre-tax profits flat at £68m thanks to depreciation offsetting a slightly higher interest charge.
Goldman Sachs today upgraded its recommendation on shares
of Asos to 'buy' from 'neutral'.
The same broker has taken Prudential off of its 'Conviction Buy' list.
FTSE 100 - Risers
SABMiller (SAB) 3,374.50p +3.53%
Fresnillo (FRES) 852.50p +2.77%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,607.00p +2.30%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,246.00p +2.13%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 878.00p +1.97%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 786.00p +1.95%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 436.00p +1.63%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,526.00p +1.59%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,688.00p +1.55%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,229.00p +1.24%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Mail (RMG) 533.00p -7.30%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,480.00p -2.80%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,323.50p -2.18%
SSE (SSE) 1,542.00p -1.15%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 447.40p -1.08%
BG Group (BG.) 1,250.00p -0.91%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,349.00p -0.74%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 487.80p -0.73%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,676.00p -0.70%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 614.20p -0.70%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Halfords Group (HFD) 480.50p +8.86%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 223.30p +6.69%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,100.00p +3.87%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,027.00p +3.74%
BTG (BTG) 540.00p +3.65%
Playtech (PTEC) 625.00p +2.97%
Countrywide (CWD) 546.50p +2.92%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,947.00p +2.91%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,243.00p +2.90%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 142.50p +2.89%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 434.80p -5.48%
Supergroup (SGP) 965.00p -4.64%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 278.20p -3.74%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 411.60p -3.58%
Booker Group (BOK) 138.50p -2.74%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 588.50p -2.49%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,490.00p -1.91%
Genus (GNS) 1,056.00p -1.86%
RPS Group (RPS) 290.00p -1.79%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 296.70p -1.66%