- Fed tapers monthly asset purchases by 10bn dollars
- Markets rise, Wall Street hits record high
- Annual growth of UK retail sales misses estimates
techMARK 2,732.70 +1.31%
FTSE 100 6,556.63 +0.99%
FTSE 250 15,576.80 +1.37%
UK markets had held on to their gains by Thursday lunchtime as investors continue to celebrate the Federal Reserve's move to scale back its unprecedented stimulus programme.
The FTSE 100 was trading around 1% higher by midday at 6,556.63, a level not seen in over a week, following a record close for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500
on Wall Street last night.
The Fed announced that it would scale back its monthly bond-buying programme from $85bn to $75bn and said it would make similar moderate reductions in the future subject to incoming economic data.
Policymakers predicted that the jobless rate - currently at 7% - would drop to around 6.5% by the end of 2014. However, they stressed that they would hold interest rates close to zero "well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6.5%, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the [FOMC's] 2% longer-run goal".
"These reassurances around interest rates effectively offset the negative implications on the markets of less asset purchases, leaving plenty of reason to continue to buy in this cheap money environment. As long as the Fed continues to stand by this promise, we may avoid a sharp pull back in the markets," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
However, while the 'Santa Rally' is now in full swing with just four more trading days until Christmas, the FTSE 100 was underperforming other European indices this morning after data showed that UK retail sales rose less than expected in November.
Retail sales climbed at an annual rate of 2% in November, up from 1.8% the previous month but slightly below the 2.2% gain analysts were looking for.
Serco erases losses after MoJ settlement
After an earlier fall, Serco swung into positive territory after saying that it will pay back £68.5m to the Ministry of Justice for overcharging on its Electronic Monitoring (EM) contract, putting an end to months of uncertainty for the company amid an investigation by the government. Serco fell earlier this morning after warning that recent contract problems may hit its cash flow this year.
AstraZeneca was a high riser this morning after spending up to $4.1bn in Bristol-Myers Squibb's stake in their diabetes joint venture, giving the British company full ownership of intellectual property and global rights for a large portfolio of products.
Fellow pharma group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) also advanced after announcing yesterday evening that US regulators have approved Anoro Ellipta, its treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Upside however was limited on the news that Denmark has approved the sale of a generic copy of GSK's biggest product, Advair.
Financial stocks were mixed with RSA Insurance, Standard Chartered and HSBC trading lower, and Barclays, Resolution and Prudential among the best performers.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,128.00p +3.58%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,312.00p +3.23%
Standard Life (SL.) 350.30p +2.94%
William Hill (WMH) 385.90p +2.74%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 336.60p +2.72%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,392.00p +2.71%
Mondi (MNDI) 987.50p +2.54%
Aviva (AV.) 434.60p +2.52%
Prudential (PRU) 1,302.00p +2.44%
Sage Group (SGE) 393.90p +2.23%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
G4S (GFS) 246.30p -2.92%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,811.00p -2.68%
Fresnillo (FRES) 713.00p -1.93%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 89.25p -1.44%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 361.00p -1.12%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 644.60p -0.57%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 305.10p -0.54%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,670.00p -0.48%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 648.50p -0.31%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 151.30p +5.95%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 591.00p +4.05%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 1,383.00p +3.98%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 750.50p +3.95%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,730.00p +3.90%
Henderson Group (HGG) 210.50p +3.90%
Laird (LRD) 275.00p +3.77%
Investec (INVP) 427.10p +3.69%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 772.00p +3.62%
Regus (RGU) 201.90p +3.54%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 157.50p -2.17%
Lonmin (LMI) 286.70p -1.88%
Serco Group (SRP) 440.40p -1.87%
Rank Group (RNK) 129.90p -1.67%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 191.70p -1.64%
Polymetal International (POLY) 511.00p -1.26%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 41.25p -1.13%
NMC Health (NMC) 440.00p -1.12%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,795.00p -0.99%
BH Macro Ltd. EUR Shares (BHME) € 19.81 -0.90%