- Russia backs Ukraine peace initiative
- Weak consumer confidence data in Europe
- Ceasefire accord reached in Israel
techMARK 2,845.63 +0.44%
FTSE 100 6,828.43 +0.08%
FTSE 250 16,073.52 +0.47%
UK equities had moved slightly into the blue by midday in a day bereft of economic data and as traders mulled the release of weaker than expected consumer confidence figures in Germany and Italy and what that might entail for the European Central Bank's policies.
On Friday, Eurostat will release the August reading for Eurozone consumer prices, which is expected to show a further fall to an 0.3% year-on-year rise.
GfK's barometer for German consumer sentiment is expected to dip to a reading of 8.6 next month, the consultancy revealed on Wednesday morning. Economists had been expecting a reading of 9.
A retreat was seen in the sub-indices for both income expectations and willingness-to-buy - although they remain robust and at high levels - while a measure of economic expectations collapsed "in light of the intensified state of international affairs", in Iraq, Israel and Eastern Ukraine.
Acting as a backdrop, investors reacted coolly to the fresh record close on the S&P 500
overnight, which saw the value of global equities establish their own record, at $66trn, according to Bloomberg data.
Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions appeared to ease a bit overnight. Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, said that the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Kazhakstan had backed his country's peace initiative.
On Tuesday, in an interview with the Financial Times, NATO's Secretary General warned that the recent focus on Russian aid convoys may have been meant to distract from a build-up of regular Russian troops in the area.
Asos surges amid rumours
Shares in online retailer Asos surged on Wednesday amid rumours it could become a takeover target. The stock jumped 318p or 13.5% to 2,666p by 11:54 in London, building on Tuesday's rise, as traders chewed over talk that at least one big US company is considering a bid.
Petrofac was leading gains on the top flight index a day after releasing its latest set of interim results, despite broker Numis telling clients that the six month figures were "somewhat disappointing".
Precious metals producer Polymetal turned into the blue during the first six months of the year, reporting net profits of $100m versus a loss of $255m in the same period of the previous year. Group total cash costs were 20% lower in the first half to reach $627 per ounce of gold, thanks to higher average grades processed and increased throughput across the portfolio. The company also benefited from the large depreciation in the Russian rouble.
Specialist engineering services group James Fisher reported an 8% rise in first half revenue, which helped to lift underlying pre-tax profit by 13% to £21.9m, despite the adverse effects of currency movements. That came as the group's subsidiary, Divex, won a contract to supply a saturation diving system for the BP Exploration Shah Deniz II project in the Caspian Sea.
The spectre of higher interest rates and a clampdown on irresponsible mortgage lending is set to hit second-half trading at Foxtons, the estate agent group warned on Wednesday.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,155.00p +2.85%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 364.70p +1.84%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 812.50p +1.75%
Fresnillo (FRES) 928.50p +1.75%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,989.00p +1.71%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,376.00p +1.62%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 184.40p +1.43%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 376.80p +1.21%
Glencore (GLEN) 367.60p +1.20%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,040.00p +1.17%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 305.90p -2.05%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 892.00p -1.76%
Kingfisher (KGF) 303.90p -1.59%
Friends Life Group Limited (FLG) 305.00p -1.52%
CRH (CRH) 1,399.00p -1.48%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,711.00p -1.10%
National Grid (NG.) 883.50p -0.95%
Hammerson (HMSO) 604.50p -0.90%
British Land Co (BLND) 724.50p -0.89%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,575.00p -0.89%
FTSE 250 - Risers
RPS Group (RPS) 294.50p +5.07%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,359.00p +4.06%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 399.60p +3.20%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,398.00p +3.17%
Man Group (EMG) 121.50p +3.14%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 63.30p +3.09%
IP Group (IPO) 215.40p +3.06%
AO World (AO.) 232.90p +3.05%
Polymetal International (POLY) 538.50p +2.96%
Computacenter (CCC) 619.50p +2.57%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 278.10p -5.50%
Regus (RGU) 175.00p -2.23%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 677.50p -1.60%
Exova Group (EXO) 214.60p -1.51%
Countrywide (CWD) 534.00p -1.48%
Hays (HAS) 131.60p -1.28%
Afren (AFR) 108.30p -1.19%
Pennon Group (PNN) 812.50p -1.10%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 590.00p -1.09%
Xaar (XAR) 556.00p -1.07%