- FTSE 100 at three-week high
- UK GDP revised higher
- UK deficit jumps, consumer confidence weakens
- BAE drops, Carnival sails higher
techMARK 2,728.33 -0.24%
FTSE 100 6,593.31 +0.13%
FTSE 250 15,616.15 +0.17%
UK markets held on to gains on Friday morning as stocks continue to trade at levels not seen in a few weeks, though upside was limited after a big surge the day before.
Helping sentiment in London was the news that the UK economy has grown more than previously thought, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised up several estimates for growth as far back as the first quarter of 2012. It means that gross domestic product (GDP) is around £2.2bn higher than first estimated and currently running just 2% below its pre-crisis peak.
The FTSE 100 was trading just below 6,600 by midday after a 1.4% jump the day before as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve's move to scale back stimulus, ending months of uncertainty that has plagued financial markets worldwide.
London's benchmark index has not closed above this level since November 29th when it ended the session at 6,650.57.
BoE admits forecasting errors, UK GDP revised higher
UK economic data was in focus today as the Bank of England (BoE) admitted that it has become more cautious on its economic forecasts. In its quarterly bulletin, the BoE said its economic estimates have been poor since the start of the financial crisis, and have "tended to overpredict growth and underpredict inflation".
Nevertheless, easing fears this morning was the news that the annual expansion in UK GDP in the third quarter was revised up to 1.9%, from an earlier estimate of 1.5%. Quarter-on-quarter growth was confirmed at 0.8%.
On a negative note, a report today showed Britain's deficit with the rest of the world widened to £20.7bn from £6.2bn in the last second quarter, equivalent to 5.1% of GDP - its biggest share of GDP since 1989. Economists had expected the current account gap to widen to £13.85bn.
Data also released this morning showed that consumer confidence deteriorated this month. The GfK Consumer Confidence Survey fell from -12 to -13 in December, surprising analysts who had expected a small tick-up to -11.
Markets on the whole were broadly higher across Europe today despite the news that Standard & Poor's has downgraded its long-term debt rating for the European Union from 'AAA' to 'AA+'. Meanwhile, Asian markets finished mixed overnight amid continuing volatility in China's money-market rates, which rose for a third straight day.
BAE tumbles after UAE walks away
BAE Systems was a heavy faller this morning after the United Arab Emirates withdrew its interest in buying 60 Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters, a major blow for the defence group which had been in talks regarding the £6bn contract for over a year.
Retailers M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrison were among the best performers, recovering after a poor performance in recent days.
Cruise operator Carnival was extending gains after impressing the market with its full-year results yesterday afternoon. Analysts at Numis this morning said that the better-than-expected results mean that "investor sentiment for the stock may now be near an inflection point".
Oil majors BP and Shell were in demand after West Texas crude futures hit a two-month high yesterday following the Fed move.
Natural gas firm BG Group, however, was in the red despite the news that its partner on block BM-S-9 in the Santos Basin, offshore Brazil, has submitted a Declaration of Commerciality to the Brazilian authorities.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Carnival (CCL) 2,442.00p +5.62%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,726.00p +2.80%
Tesco (TSCO) 330.30p +1.99%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 396.60p +1.90%
Schroders (SDR) 2,505.00p +1.75%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 450.90p +1.51%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 818.00p +1.36%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,469.00p +1.31%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,283.00p +1.26%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 216.80p +1.21%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BAE Systems (BA.) 420.80p -4.80%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,256.00p -2.10%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 787.50p -1.50%
Fresnillo (FRES) 687.50p -1.50%
CRH (CRH) 1,476.00p -1.34%
BG Group (BG.) 1,241.00p -1.31%
William Hill (WMH) 386.20p -1.28%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,670.00p -1.24%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,503.00p -1.12%
Meggitt (MGGT) 511.50p -0.87%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 42.50p +6.09%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 156.40p +5.25%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 799.50p +3.63%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 590.50p +3.05%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 161.70p +2.73%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 19.72p +2.71%
Berendsen (BRSN) 928.00p +2.65%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 130.70p +2.51%
Beazley (BEZ) 266.00p +2.31%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 305.50p +2.24%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Polymetal International (POLY) 480.40p -6.90%
Perform Group (PER) 215.70p -4.30%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 157.80p -2.77%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 746.00p -2.74%
De La Rue (DLAR) 868.00p -2.47%
Greencore Group (GNC) 209.40p -2.38%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 583.50p -2.18%
Dialight (DIA) 847.00p -2.14%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 745.50p -1.91%
WH Smith (SMWH) 997.00p -1.77%