- UK construction PMI hits four-month high
- ADP report, factory orders in focus Stateside
- Service PMIs, ECB and jobs report due out tomorrow
- Mothercare jumps on foreign interest
techMARK 2,841.71 +0.32%
FTSE 100 6,823.02 +0.30%
FTSE 250 15,907.17 +0.42%
Figures showing a surprise pick-up in UK construction growth helped give stocks boost on Wednesday morning, though upside was limited as investors awaited a wave of key economic data.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.3% higher at 6,823 by midday; it has not closed above this level since June 20th when it finished the session at 6,825.2.
Output growth in the British construction sector picked up to a four-month high in June, while job creation reached its best level on record. The Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 62.6 last month, up from a seven-month low of 60.0 in May.
"The headline index has now posted above the 50.0 no-change threshold for 14 months running and the latest reading signalled the strongest pace of overall output growth since February," the survey said.
Aside from the UK data, markets will be keeping a close eye on indicators from the States later on, including the ADP employment report and US factory orders. A speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will also be in focus this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Thursday's session will see the release of service-sector PMIs in China, the Eurozone and UK, as well as a policy meeting at the European Central Bank and the all-important US non-farm payrolls figure.
"Jitters about the second quarter being as bad as the first quarter have eased, and a good reading on non-farms tomorrow would be the pre-Independence Day icing on the cake," said Brenda Kelley, Chief Market Strategist at IG.
Mothercare jumps after bid rejection
surged after it was revealed that the company has turned down two takeover bids from US-based Destination Maternity. Nasdaq-listed Destination Maternity said its second written offer on Tuesday was worth 300p per Mothercare share, valuing its London-listed peer at £266m ($455m).
Housebuilder Persimmon said it continued to sell more houses and at higher prices with sales up 33% in the first half, although its forward sales revenue growth slowed from the first quarter, causing shares to fall this morning.
Tullow Oil also declined after reporting a decline in profits on flat revenues in its first half and said it expects an exploration write-off of $415m.
Sports Direct was lower after a whopping 40% of shareholders voted against the group's controversial bonus share scheme, that will see founder Mike Ashley awarded a bonus of £200m. However, with more than half voting in favour the resolution was passed.
Construction, services and property group Kier gained after reporting that its underlying trading performance for the year to June 30th "remains on course", while sector peer Carillion rose after saying it expects to start increasing revenue again this year following a weak first half.
Online grocer Ocado was rebounding strongly after a heavy fall the previous day with analysts at Deutsche Bank providing a lift by upgrading the stock to 'hold'. The company underwhelmed the market with its interim results on Tuesday, but the bank said it now sees limited downside to its target price.
A host of stocks were trading lower this morning after going ex-dividend, including Burberry, Royal Mail, TalkTalk, British Land, Dairy Crest, De La Rue, ICAP and Halfords.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,368.00p +2.24%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,218.00p +2.10%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 910.50p +1.79%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 3,082.00p +1.65%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 433.40p +1.50%
BG Group (BG.) 1,262.50p +1.24%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,419.50p +1.14%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,040.00p +0.97%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 604.00p +0.97%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,063.00p +0.95%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Mail (RMG) 480.60p -2.16%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,930.00p -1.06%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 473.80p -0.94%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,195.00p -0.91%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,466.00p -0.88%
Friends Life Group Limited (FLG) 314.80p -0.79%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,475.50p -0.77%
3i Group (III) 404.60p -0.71%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 722.50p -0.69%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 903.00p -0.66%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 376.00p +5.92%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,844.00p +3.42%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 197.20p +2.98%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 141.50p +2.98%
CSR (CSR) 604.50p +2.98%
Informa (INF) 492.90p +2.45%
Genus (GNS) 1,134.00p +2.16%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 215.30p +2.13%
Carillion (CLLN) 339.70p +1.95%
Computacenter (CCC) 621.50p +1.89%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 397.30p -3.57%
De La Rue (DLAR) 783.00p -3.33%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 469.50p -2.79%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 185.70p -2.42%
Homeserve (HSV) 313.10p -1.70%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,288.00p -1.60%
ICAP (IAP) 376.30p -1.54%
Halfords Group (HFD) 477.00p -1.53%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,307.00p -1.36%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 328.70p -1.32%