- AstraZeneca leads gains
- UK retail sales surge by 1.3 per cent on the month
- Minutes show differences of opinion amongst MPC
techMARK 2,718.19 +0.43%
FTSE 100 6,794.51 -0.11%
FTSE 250 15,526.03 +0.56%
Change is in the air at the Bank of England; indeed, perhaps not massive change, but change nevertheless. That seems to have been the main message from the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPCs) last meeting, carried out on May 7th and 8th.
As Governor Carney himself set out in his press conference following the release of the last Inflation Report, the committee "noted that the mitigation of such risks was, in the first instance, the responsibility of the Financial Policy Committee (FPC): monetary policy should be only a last line of defence."
However, the minutes, which were released on Wednesday morning, also included the following phrase: "[there was a] variety of views on the appropriate path of monetary policy."
While it is true that the document is now a tad dated - since then policy-makers have increasingly been trumpeting the need for macroprudential measures to rein in house prices - markets had been watching for any sign of dissent amongst the MPC's members.
No less relevant, retail sales rocketed at a 1.3% month-on-month clip in April, well ahead of the 0.4% rise seen by the consensus.
As a result HSBC upped its projection for the growth rate of the UK's gross domestic product to a 0.9% quarter-on-quarter clip, from 0.7% beforehand.
Acting as a backdrop, on Tuesday evening outgoing Bank of England Deputy Governor Charlie Bean outlined in a speech the case to be made in favour of employing macroprudential tools to safeguard financial stability. That comes at a time when the Bank has come under some pressure to act to slow house prices rises.
A raft of Fed speakers were to take to the podium later in the day, headed up by Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
AstraZeneca paces gains after upgrade out of Barclays
Sources close to Pfizer told The Daily Telegraph that they believed the reaction from Anglo-Swedish group AstraZeneca shareholders "hasn't finished playing out".
Burberry said its annual revenue rose 17% to £2.3bn, driven by strong retail sales. The luxury fashion house reported adjusted pre-tax profit of £461m in the year to end of March 2014, up 8% on the previous year.
Soft drinks group Britvic served up a 20% increase in interim profit, as it continues with its cost saving programme, and underlined its confidence in future trading with 13 per cent hike in its interim dividend. Pre-tax profit jumped 20.8% to £45.3m for the 28 weeks ended April 13th, while revenue increased to £670.7m from £639.2m the same time a year earlier.
Electricity and gas supplier SSE said profits from supplying households and businesses fell by nearly a third due to lower energy use and higher costs, but still boosted underlying annual group profits by 9.6% to £1.5bn and hiked its dividend by 3%.
Train and bus company FirstGroup made progress with four of its divisions, growing underlying group operating profits despite the extreme weather hitting US operations, but the recovery of the First Student in the US was slower than hoped. Disposals put the brakes on the top line, holding back full-year group revenue 2.7% to £6.7bn, but adjusted operating profit climbed 5.5% to £268.0m.
Telecom Plus posted a rise in annual profit and revenue as the utility achieved a record increase in service numbers. The company, which supplies gas, electricity, telephony and broadband, said adjusted pre-tax profit jumped 25.3% to £44.6m and revenue increased 9.5% to £658.8m in the year to end of March 2014.
Petrofac was pacing risers now on the Footsie after being upgraded to 'equalweight' from 'underweight'.
Vodafone had been removed from UBS's European Key call list.
FTSE 100 - Risers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,386.00p +1.80%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,215.00p +1.76%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 858.00p +1.54%
Schroders (SDR) 2,550.00p +1.31%
TUI Travel (TT.) 406.90p +1.22%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 426.40p +1.11%
Barclays (BARC) 241.10p +1.07%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,666.00p +1.03%
William Hill (WMH) 329.30p +1.01%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,200.00p +0.96%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 204.30p -2.48%
Pearson (PSON) 1,136.00p -1.73%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,555.00p -1.58%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,883.00p -1.47%
Tesco (TSCO) 301.60p -1.45%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 618.20p -1.42%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 772.50p -1.40%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 3,033.00p -1.21%
Glencore (GLEN) 323.60p -1.19%
SSE (SSE) 1,553.00p -0.96%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,547.00p +12.92%
Britvic (BVIC) 731.50p +5.33%
DCC (DCC) 3,267.00p +5.22%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 152.00p +4.25%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,578.00p +4.16%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 45.79p +4.07%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 587.00p +3.89%
Greencore Group (GNC) 267.00p +3.09%
Laird (LRD) 284.20p +3.08%
Man Group (EMG) 93.45p +3.03%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Supergroup (SGP) 978.00p -3.36%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 399.40p -3.36%
Redefine International (RDI) 55.05p -2.91%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 372.60p -2.87%
Carillion (CLLN) 334.70p -1.76%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 213.80p -1.57%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,211.00p -1.51%
Polymetal International (POLY) 545.00p -1.45%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 747.00p -1.45%
Michael Page International (MPI) 435.60p -1.31%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
RM (RM.) 142.00p +10.08%
Optos (OPTS) 164.75p +1.70%
Filtronic (FTC) 38.75p +1.31%
Skyepharma (SKP) 227.50p +1.22%
Vectura Group (VEC) 129.00p +1.18%
Innovation Group (TIG) 32.25p +0.78%
NCC Group (NCC) 177.50p +0.57%
Ricardo (RCDO) 667.00p +0.45%
SDL (SDL) 299.00p +0.34%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 232.75p +0.11%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 106.00p -2.75%
DRS Data & Research Services (DRS) 20.00p -2.44%
Kofax Limited (DI) (KFX) 424.50p -1.34%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 1.98p -1.25%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,518.00p -0.78%
Dialight (DIA) 862.50p -0.29%
Anite (AIE) 90.75p -0.27%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 858.00p -0.12%