- German ZEW index beats forecasts
- Markets await results from US blue-chips
- Signs of progress in Eurozone lift sentiment
UK stocks had held on to gains by Tuesday lunchtime as investors digested some decent economic figures and improving newsflow from the Eurozone.
"Financial markets extended yesterday's gains, with sentiment improving after Monday's better-than-expected US retail sales data and Citi's 3Q numbers," said market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital.
"In Europe, reports that Spain is moving closer to seeking financial aid by tapping into a credit line together with decent Spanish bills auction and upbeat German ZEW and UK inflation numbers have all combined to bolster the mood," he said.
The German ZEW survey which measures economic sentiment improved to -11.5 in October, from -18.2 the month before and better than the -14.9 estimate.
UK CPI inflation fell from 2.5% to 2.2% in September, in line with market expectations, taking the rate to its lowest level since November 2009 and close to the 2% target set by the Bank of England.
Meanwhile, stock futures in the US are pointing to a positive start on Wall Street as investors ahead to third-quarter figures from Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and IBM due for release later on.
As for the Eurozone, Portugal last night revealed its 2013 budget yesterday which includes tax rises and spending cuts and is likely to see the country fall into its third year of recession.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in Athens last night that he is confident that Greece will receive its next tranche of the bailout.
A short-term debt auction in Spain saw borrowing costs edge lower: the Treasury sold €4.863bn in 12- and 18-month notes, above the €3.5-4.5bn target range.
FTSE 100: Financials, miners provide a lift
Banking stocks and mining groups were performing well by midday as risk appetite increased. Lloyds, RBS, Randgold and Polymetal were among the highest risers on the Footsie.
Diversified mining group Rio Tinto rose after hailing a strong set of production results in the third quarter, with iron ore, copper, bauxite, alumina, and titanium dioxide output up year-on-year.
Sector peer Anglo American gained after saying that the illegal occupation of the Sishen Mine - owned by its subsidiary Kumbia Iron Ore - has been brought to an end by police. The company said it could get back to business as soon as possible.
Heading the other way was global engineering firm GKN after warning that macroeconomic conditions have deteriorated in recent weeks and it was seeing evidence of softening in order books. Investec this morning cut its price target on the stock and retained a 'hold' rating.
Airline group IAG was a heavy faller after Liberum Capital downgraded its recommendation for the shares
Telecoms titan BT Group was in demand after Nomura reiterated its 'buy' rating on the stock, saying it prefers it to Vodafone on "structural growth drivers and dividend outlook".
FTSE 250: N Brown surges after solid first half
Internet and catalogue home shopping firm N Brown jumped after reporting that sale and profits ahead of expectations in the first half, with like-for-like (LFL) sales growth accelerating in the second quarter. Shares were up nearly 11% by lunchtime.
UK housebuilder Bellway was also a high riser after delivering a solid increase in full-year pre-tax profit, helped by a strong performance in London, and said reservations since July 31st have remained in line with expectations.
Gold miner Petropavlovsk rose after saying it was on track to achieve its full-year production target of at least 700,000oz.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 42.16p +4.55%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 593.00p +2.68%
Evraz (EVR) 234.80p +2.44%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,152.00p +2.31%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,143.00p +2.14%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 273.80p +2.13%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,700.00p +2.12%
Sage Group (SGE) 308.30p +2.02%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,281.00p +1.91%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 703.00p +1.88%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
GKN (GKN) 205.40p -3.07%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 154.60p -2.15%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,587.00p -1.06%
Tesco (TSCO) 307.60p -0.77%
Capita (CPI) 734.50p -0.61%
CRH (CRH) 1,114.00p -0.54%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 266.20p -0.49%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 356.50p -0.36%
Pennon Group (PNN) 719.00p -0.35%
IMI (IMI) 900.00p -0.33%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 298.50p +10.68%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 480.90p +8.31%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 234.20p +5.02%
Bodycote (BOY) 362.20p +4.96%
Perform Group (PER) 419.10p +4.78%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 39.24p +4.28%
Persimmon (PSN) 776.50p +4.02%
Man Group (EMG) 93.60p +3.88%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 442.70p +3.73%
Senior (SNR) 196.70p +3.64%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 578.50p -3.50%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 869.50p -1.64%
PayPoint (PAY) 751.00p -1.25%
Regus (RGU) 103.90p -1.05%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 63.80p -1.01%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.5 -0.86%
Greggs (GRG) 486.90p -0.79%
Carpetright (CPR) 694.00p -0.79%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 98.30p -0.76%
RPS Group (RPS) 244.60p -0.73%