- Mining stocks pare losses after Asian data
- China registers surprise trade deficit
- Japan GDP revised lower
- Vodafone raising offer for Ono, reports say
techMARK 2,863.88 +0.14%
FTSE 100 6,724.00 +0.17%
FTSE 250 16,590.48 +0.19%
UK markets edged higher on Monday as bargain hunters stepped in following a sharp fall the previous session, though mining stocks were capping gains on London's FTSE 100 after some weak data from Asia.
Miners were broadly lower this morning after a surprise trade deficit in China and downward revisions to growth estimates in Japan dampened the demand outlook for metals. Share prices, however, had bounced off their intraday lows by mid-morning.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.2% higher at 6,724 by midday. This follows a 1.1% fall for the index on Friday as investors focused on geopolitical developments in Ukraine.
"With no Ukraine news hitting the headlines the atmosphere is one of cautious bullishness, albeit without much actual news flow to support it," said Chris Beauchamp, Market Analyst at IG.
Markets across Asia fell overnight after China's trade balance fell to a deficit of $22.98bn in February, compared with a revised surplus of $32.87bn in January and expectations for a surplus of $14.5bn.
This was China's first trade deficit in 11 months and comes after exports slumped at an annual rate of 18.1%, though analysts believe this largely reflects seasonal factors such as the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, during which many factories remained shut. Imports grew by a slightly stronger-than-forecast 10.1% during the month.
Other data also showed that the annual rate of Chinese consumer price inflation fell to a 13-month low of 2% in February, down from 2.5% the month before and below forecasts.
Over in Japan, revised government figures revealed that Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by just 0.7% on an annualised basis in the final three months of last year, down from the initial estimate of 1% growth.
Meanwhile, the current account deficit hit a record 1.5trn yen (around £8.7bn) in January, which comes ahead of a planned tax increase on sales next month - a move that had been expected to prompt higher spending in the lead up to it.
Vodafone falls on Ono speculation
Vodafone was lower after reportedly reaching a deal that could result in a higher purchase price than initially offered for Spanish broadband operator Ono. That follows the refusal of the Spanish telecom to entertain an initial offer of €6.9bn, having judged that the price was inadequate and stating that it would proceed with an initial public offering.
Mining stocks were also in the red as investors digested economic data from Asia. Fresnillo, Glenore Xstrata and Anglo American were all trading lower, albeit off their lows of the day.
Leading the upside was engine group Rolls-Royce which gained after a host of brokers, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Cazenove, Deutsche Bank and RBC Capital Markets, lifted their target prices for the stock.
Paper and packaging group Mondi was among the best performers after Citigroup analysts upgraded the stock from 'neutral' to 'buy' and raised their target price from 1,110p to 1,260p, saying they see "another strong year ahead".
Tobacco giant British American was also benefitting after comments from Citigroup, which added the stock to its 'Focus List'.
Manufacturing company Senior rose after confirming that it has entered into an agreement to buy Malaysian based UPECA Technologies for £75.5m. Investec also lifted its recommendation for the shares
from 'reduce' to 'hold'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,056.00p +2.92%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,111.00p +1.83%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,314.00p +1.78%
G4S (GFS) 247.90p +1.64%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,407.00p +1.59%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,341.00p +1.55%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,597.00p +1.46%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 2,041.00p +1.44%
Centrica (CNA) 329.00p +1.36%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,929.50p +1.30%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 904.50p -2.48%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,360.00p -2.37%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 233.90p -1.99%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 318.80p -1.86%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,435.50p -1.85%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,379.00p -1.85%
WPP (WPP) 1,234.00p -1.83%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 861.00p -1.82%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 320.80p -1.81%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,153.00p -1.47%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Pennon Group (PNN) 760.50p +3.33%
Savills (SVS) 617.50p +3.17%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 342.80p +3.04%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 307.60p +3.01%
Pace (PIC) 456.40p +2.49%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 676.00p +2.27%
Beazley (BEZ) 263.40p +2.05%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 587.50p +1.91%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,420.00p +1.87%
Perform Group (PER) 287.00p +1.74%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Essar Energy (ESSR) 69.65p -3.60%
Evraz (EVR) 62.00p -2.59%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 437.00p -2.52%
Greencore Group (GNC) 293.50p -2.49%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 118.20p -2.15%
Polymetal International (POLY) 554.00p -1.95%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 169.90p -1.85%
Kentz Ltd. (KENZ) 745.00p -1.78%
Devro (DVO) 254.40p -1.78%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 15.73p -1.69%