- Iraq tensions push stocks lower as oil rises
- Kentz rockets on SNC-Lavalin bid
- Mining stocks higher on China data
techMARK 2,841.51 -0.68%
FTSE 100 6,807.57 -0.26%
FTSE 250 15,698.73 -0.59%
UK stocks pared losses on Monday morning but were still trading firmly in the red by midday as ongoing tensions in Iraq continued to dampen risk appetite.
Despite a decent performance in the mining sector on the back of upbeat economic data from China, the FTSE 100 was trading 0.3% lower at 6,808 by noon, bouncing off a intraday low of 6,785.83.
Sentiment was helped slightly this morning by M&A speculation surrounding engineering group Kentz Corporation which rocketed on reports of a £1.2bn cash offer.
Oil prices continued to rise this morning after President Barack Obama warned that the Iraq crisis could spill over into other neighbouring regions after rebels captured border crossings to Syria and Jordan following continued fighting on Sunday. With Iraq being the second-largest OPEC crude producer, Brent crude inched a further 0.1% higher to $114.89 a barrel.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has today travelled to Baghdad, said that the rebels' "ideology of violence and repression is a threat not only to Iraq but to the entire region".
"Sunni militants are now moving closer to threatening Bagdad by taking control of nearby borders so crude oil
has started to trend higher again towards $120 in Brent and has forced a correction in stocks at the start of the week," said Jasper Lawler, Market Analyst at CMC Markets.
Mining stocks rose strongly in London after manufacturing data from China showed that the sector expanded for the first time in six months. The HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose from 49.4 to 50.8 in June, ahead of the consensus forecast of 49.7.
"This month's improvement is consistent with data suggesting that the authorities' mini-stimulus is filtering through to the real economy," said Qu Hongbin, HSBC's Chief Economist for China.
He said he expected policymakers to "continue their current path of accommodative policy stance until the recovery is sustained".
Kentz rockets on M&A talks
Oil services engineer Kentz jumped by a third in late morning trade after it was reported that Canada's SNC-Lavalin has agreed to buy the company for 935p per share, valuing the company at £1.16bn.
Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Antofagasta and BHP Billiton were all making decent gains today after the improved economic data from China, the world's top metals user.
Chipmaker ARM Holdings was also rising strongly after positive comments from Morgan Stanley. While the bank kept an 'equal weight' rating on the stock, analysts said that the "momentum could be turning" after recent weakness in royalty payments.
Shares in online fashion retailer ASOS, which have been under heavy selling pressure after a recent profit warning, were resilient to the news that the company was forced to suspend its website after a fire at a key warehouse in Barnsley over the weekend. The incident, which police are treating as "deliberate", is said to have "comprised" 20% of ASOS' stock at the distribution facility.
Elsewhere in the retail sector, Wm Morrison edged higher after the supermarket chain announced more price cuts of up to 30% in an effort to boost sales. Meanwhile, department store group Marks & Spencer declined after Investec trimmed its target price for the stock ahead of the company's first-quarter statement next month.
Gas producer BG Group rose after Deutsche Bank lifted its target for the shares
from 1,250p to 1,400p, saying that the company should demerge is liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations to create "two smaller but focused businesses - BG E&P and BG LNG".
Airline group IAG declined on reports that cabin crew at British Airways have threatened to strike. Analysts also cited concerns in the airline industry about rising fuel costs as a result of the ongoing Iraq conflict.
Housebuilders were also under the weather with Barratt Developments, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Bovis Homes trading lower.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ARM Holdings (ARM) 911.50p +2.53%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,138.50p +1.98%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,350.00p +1.95%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,936.50p +1.84%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,472.50p +1.10%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 777.00p +0.84%
BG Group (BG.) 1,249.00p +0.77%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,272.50p +0.59%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 879.50p +0.51%
National Grid (NG.) 847.50p +0.47%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 349.70p -3.02%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 837.00p -2.11%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,207.00p -1.87%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 330.90p -1.87%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,426.00p -1.79%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,600.00p -1.72%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,160.00p -1.44%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,405.50p -1.44%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 75.64p -1.38%
CRH (CRH) 1,600.00p -1.36%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 930.00p +32.38%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 125.50p +3.04%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,639.00p +2.76%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 94.00p +2.29%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,765.00p +2.14%
BH Macro Ltd. GBP
Shares (BHMG) 1,957.00p +1.93%
Investec (INVP) 533.50p +1.81%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,137.00p +1.79%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 126.00p +1.61%
Perform Group (PER) 268.80p +1.43%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 648.50p -3.50%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 802.50p -3.43%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 140.80p -3.43%
Rank Group (RNK) 170.20p -3.19%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 169.10p -2.93%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,344.00p -2.89%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 750.00p -2.85%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 581.50p -2.84%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,384.00p -2.67%
Xaar (XAR) 497.00p -2.55%