-Japanese exports disappoint
-Merkel says Irish bank debt is a 'special case'
-Miners and banks provide a lift
After an earlier fall into the red, London's FTSE 100 was making slight gains by Monday lunchtime as improving news-flow from the Eurozone helped to offset some disappointing economic data from Japan.
"European stock markets pushed mildly higher into the black, recovering from opening lows as investors chose to build risk exposure on positive news from Spain over the weekend and corporate news," said market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital. "Although the EU summit yielded little on the Spanish and Greek debt issues, EU leaders did take the first steps in fleshing out an agreement to launch a euro zone banking supervisor by early 2013, beating market expectations which were extremely low going into the summit."
A decent outcome for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at the regional elections at the weekend was lifting sentiment this morning on hopes that "the government there doesn't quite face the challenging and difficult opposition by the public that we expected," Siddiqi said.
Meanwhile, last night's joint statement issued by Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reassured that the Eurozone is committed to addressing Ireland's bank debts.
The comments come a few days after Merkel confused many by saying that there would be "no retroactive direct bank recapitulation". Yesterday's statement reassured that "Ireland is a special case, and that the Eurogroup will take that into account."
US stock futures are pointing to a positive start on Wall Street, helping the Footsie keep its head above water. Investors Stateside are awaiting corporate earnings from some heavyweights, including Caterpillar, Texas Instruments, Hasbro and Yahoo! later today.
Japanese exports declined 10.3% year-on-year last month, worse than the 5.8% decrease in August and the 9.9% fall expected. The trade deficit was 588.6bn yen, higher than the 547.9bn expected by the consensus of analysts. Imports rose by a more-than-expected 4.1%.
FTSE 100: Miners and financials bolster the Footsie
Mining and banking stocks were among the best performers on the improving outlook for the Eurozone. EVRAZ, Randgold, Anglo American and Fresnillo were leading resources higher, while Barclays and Lloyds were also doing well. Even RBS, which was downgraded by Investec to 'sell' this morning, was trading in the blue.
Temporary power and temperature control group Aggreko was extending losses after announcing on Friday that exchange rates
and increased bad debt provisions will have a 2.5% negative impact on its full-year bottom line. Today, the stock was being dampened by a downgrade by HSBC to 'underweight'. HSBC, along with fellow brokers Jefferies, JPMorgan Cazenove and Barclays Capital, also cut its target price for the shares.
BP has agreed to the terms of sale agreement of 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft. Closure of deal seen in first half of 2013. BP will receive 17.1bn dollars in cash plus shares. Of that amount -which is higher than was expected- 4.8bn will be reinvested. BP will thus receive 12.3bn dollars in net terms and a 19.75 per cent stake in the combined company.
Global power systems group Rolls-Royce made gains after being awarded a contract by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) to supply its Spinline digital safety instrumentation and control technology (I&C) for the modernisation programme of the Ling Ao nuclear power plant.
FTSE 250: Devro drops after profit warning
Devro, a sausage casing supplier, was the heaviest faller after warning that full-year operating profits will be slightly below expectations, although still ahead of last year.
Trading systems developer Fidessa fell after warning persistent challenges in the financial markets weighed on third-quarter equity market volumes; the on-going pressure means that full-year revenue is likely to be unchanged from the year before.
Heading the other way was aerospace technology group Senior after saying that it was on track to hit 2012 profit expectations despite a deterioration in some markets.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 253.80p +2.22%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,575.00p +2.16%
Barclays (BARC) 238.25p +1.88%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,931.00p +1.82%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,926.00p +1.80%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 41.17p +1.69%
Glencore International (GLEN) 353.00p +1.51%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,005.00p +1.44%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,150.00p +1.32%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,090.00p +1.30%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aggreko (AGK) 2,099.00p -1.78%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,302.00p -1.16%
Centrica (CNA) 327.30p -1.12%
Pennon Group (PNN) 726.50p -1.09%
Wolseley (WOS) 2,700.00p -1.06%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,598.00p -1.05%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,838.00p -0.92%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 160.80p -0.86%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 868.00p -0.86%
Tesco (TSCO) 316.40p -0.86%
FTSE 250 - Risers
NMC Health (NMC) 188.90p +4.36%
Homeserve (HSV) 239.80p +3.81%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 137.20p +3.78%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 203.40p +2.73%
Lonmin (LMI) 511.50p +2.69%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 42.89p +2.36%
Diploma (DPLM) 455.00p +2.22%
Playtech Ltd. (PTEC) 411.60p +2.11%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 191.40p +2.08%
Ted Baker (TED) 939.00p +2.07%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Devro (DVO) 320.00p -4.76%
Spectris (SXS) 1,706.00p -4.10%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,326.00p -3.35%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 104.00p -3.08%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 534.00p -2.73%
Drax Group (DRX) 519.00p -2.54%
Regus (RGU) 104.30p -2.43%
William Hill (WMH) 349.30p -2.29%
PayPoint (PAY) 760.00p -2.25%
Perform Group (PER) 441.30p -1.93%