- JPMorgan, China hopes lift mining stocks
- Ukraine in focus after referendums
- BSkyB falls amid Fox pay-TV deal speculation
techMARK 2,793.49 +0.40%
FTSE 100 6,844.10 +0.43%
FTSE 250 15,961.01 +0.48%
Upbeat comments from JPMorgan Chase & Co and a good performance on Chinese markets overnight gave the heavyweight mining sector a boost on Monday in London, pushing UK stocks broadly higher.
However, upside was limited by developments over the weekend in Ukraine where regional referendums were held to vote on a declaration of 'self-rule'.
"Weekend developments in Ukraine remain a concern for market participants who are currently managing risk appetite appropriately by not putting all their chips on the table," said analysts at ETX Capital.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.4% higher at 6,844 by midday.
While indices across Asia finished in a mixed fashion on Monday, Chinese markets gained strongly after Beijing outlined its plans for capital market liberalisation.
China's State Council said it would create a system for direct bond issuance by local governments. It also plans to streamline the approval process for initial public offerings (IPOs), and reduce restrictions on the use of financial derivatives. Investors also mulled new rules from the Securities Association of China for IPOs.
The move came as Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the economy needs to adapt to a "new normal" of slower growth. However, he added that the authorities must avoid risks and adopt "timely countermeasures to reduce potential negative effects", Xinhua reported.
Investors were keeping a close eyes on developments in Eastern Europe today after pro-Russian activists in the Donetsk region of Ukraine claimed a overwhelming victory in the controversial 'self-rule' referendum.
Despite reports of chaotic scenes at polling stations with no booths and no electoral registers, the separatists said that 89% of the public voted in favour of endorsing Donetsk's declaration of self-rule. Another vote in the region of Luhansk was also held, the results of which are expected to show a similar result.
Ukrainian officials have labelled the polls as a "criminal farce" set up by Russia, while leaders in the EU and US have also claimed that the votes were unconstitutional.
Miners lead markets higher
Basic resource stocks were among the best performers today after JPMorgan Chase & Co upgraded its rating for the European mining sector from 'underweight' to 'overweight' on the back of falling costs and improving demand from China.
Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were leading the way higher after the US bank named the two producers as the top picks in the sector. Others such as Antofagasta, Fresnillo and Anglo American were also on the rise this morning.
Precious metals miner Polymetal was also a high riser after an audit of its Svetloye project in Russia found that it can deliver "capital-light, low-risk and low-cost production and cash flows in the medium-term".
BSkyB fell after saying that it is in talks with 21st Century Fox regarding the potential acquisition of the latter's pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. Analysts said that shareholders may be disappointed that a bid from Fox for BSkyB itself did not materialise.
AstraZeneca rose after the Phase III Amagine-1 study evaluating its brodalumab treatment in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis met all primary and secondary endpoints.
Annuities provider Just Retirement impressed after individually underwritten annuity sales jumped by 34% in the third quarter despite recent pension reforms. The company did however say that sales were "at around half of pre-Budget levels".
Capita, the business process outsourcing firm, gained after saying that it made a "strong start" to 2014 with £1.1bn-worth of major new sales wins.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,314.00p +3.94%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 791.00p +2.86%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,210.00p +2.80%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,945.50p +2.58%
Fresnillo (FRES) 835.50p +2.33%
Sage Group (SGE) 405.60p +2.30%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,721.00p +2.14%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 903.50p +1.98%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,633.00p +1.81%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 226.30p +1.75%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 870.50p -2.19%
BT Group (BT.A) 374.70p -2.04%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,423.00p -1.86%
Barclays (BARC) 256.30p -1.48%
ITV (ITV) 186.60p -1.27%
Kingfisher (KGF) 416.20p -0.95%
Pearson (PSON) 1,128.00p -0.79%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 287.40p -0.79%
Tesco (TSCO) 294.65p -0.74%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 375.00p -0.66%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Polymetal International (POLY) 581.00p +5.16%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 950.00p +4.74%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 1,319.00p +4.10%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 296.40p +3.53%
Halfords Group (HFD) 449.00p +2.72%
CSR (CSR) 571.50p +2.70%
Hays (HAS) 153.30p +2.68%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,251.00p +2.60%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 259.90p +2.52%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 161.00p +2.35%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Supergroup (SGP) 1,045.00p -7.11%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,520.00p -2.78%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 461.30p -1.62%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 184.10p -1.60%
Unite Group (UTG) 423.50p -1.51%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,374.00p -1.29%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 516.00p -1.24%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 605.00p -1.22%
Debenhams (DEB) 80.65p -1.16%
Drax Group (DRX) 652.50p -1.14%