- UK, Eurozone, China services PMIs ease
- Markets rangebound, little changed by midday
- Takeover and break-up of RSA possible, says UBS
- Retailers in focus ahead of sales updates
techMARK 2,795.09 +0.23%
FTSE 100 6,731.24 +0.01%
FTSE 250 16,063.40 +0.27%
The FTSE 100 was little changed on Monday morning, trading within a narrow range after a raft of mixed economic data from across the globe.
"Trade volumes are notably higher and global services output has formed the basis for much of the sentiment this morning," said Brenda Kelly, Senior Market Strategist at IG, as data weakened in the UK, Eurozone and China.
The FTSE 100 was broadly flat by midday on Friday's closing price of 6,730.67, after swinging between gains and losses during morning trade.
Following a relatively quiet festive season in terms of corporate news and economic data, the calendar is pointing to several key 'risk events' in the next few days that could spark some volatile moves in financial markets worldwide. These include inflation figures, central bank meetings in the UK and Eurozone, and Friday's all-important jobs report in the States.
As for today, service-sector purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) from across the globe were in focus after data last week showed a weakening in manufacturing growth in China, the US and UK in December.
Growth in the UK services sector unexpectedly slowed with the PMI falling from 60 to 58.8, below the 60.3 consensus forecast.
The final estimate of the Eurozone services PMI was confirmed at 51 in December, down from 51.2 in November, with an ongoing contraction in France's services sector weighing on growth. Figures released overnight saw the China services PMI survey decline from 52.5 to 50.9.
Meanwhile, over in the States, data out this afternoon is expected to show that the US ISM non-manufacturing index increased from 53.9 to 54.5 last month.
RSA gains after UBS comments
RSA Insurance was a high riser this morning after UBS raised its target price for the stock from 100p to 113p and maintained a 'buy' rating. The bank added the stock to its 'Alpha Preferences Most Preferred List', saying: "While there are significant uncertainties, we think that the balance of risks is to the upside."
Meanwhile, the bank also said that a takeover and break-up of RSA still "remains a possibility", following recent market chatter.
Retailers will be closely watched this week ahead of trading updates from the likes of Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury. The festive reporting season so far has been a mixed bag, with a profit warning from Debenhams contrasting with a stellar update from Next on Friday.
M&S was among the worst performers this morning on speculation that it is a "likely candidate to suffer from the highly promotional and competitive clothing market", according to Equity Analyst Amisha Chohan from Sanlam Securities.
Meanwhile, Tesco and Sainsbury were both in the red after rival chain Asda reported strong Christmas trading in both store and online.
Petrofac rose after Deutsche Bank lifted the stock to 'buy', while oilfield services peer Wood Group was dampened after the bank cut its rating to 'hold'.
Precious metal miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were trading firmly lower this morning as gold and silver prices weakened. Sector peer Centamin, however, bucked the trend after beating analysts' forecasts with its fourth-quarter gold production figures.
FTSE 100 - Risers
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 98.00p +6.35%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,754.00p +1.68%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 789.50p +1.67%
Experian (EXPN) 1,124.00p +1.44%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 413.60p +1.42%
ITV (ITV) 197.50p +1.39%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,586.00p +1.34%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,237.00p +1.31%
IMI (IMI) 1,551.00p +1.24%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,273.00p +1.11%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,839.00p -2.17%
Fresnillo (FRES) 755.50p -2.07%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 436.20p -1.76%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,314.50p -1.65%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,278.50p -1.43%
G4S (GFS) 257.00p -1.23%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 846.50p -1.05%
Sage Group (SGE) 397.40p -0.82%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 340.50p -0.82%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,252.50p -0.79%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 46.86p +3.63%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 964.50p +2.93%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 607.50p +2.88%
IP Group (IPO) 170.90p +2.64%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,209.00p +2.63%
Synthomer (SYNT) 263.00p +2.53%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,794.00p +2.51%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 392.30p +2.32%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 269.30p +2.20%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 839.00p +2.19%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
NMC Health (NMC) 437.00p -2.87%
Evraz (EVR) 108.00p -2.70%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 659.50p -2.66%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 204.90p -2.34%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 119.00p -2.14%
Polymetal International (POLY) 579.00p -2.03%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 765.00p -1.92%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 123.70p -1.75%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 103.90p -1.61%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 176.20p -1.56%