- Kingfisher, easyJet, Wolseley, RSA, Anglo rise strongly
- Royal Mail falls after job cut plans
- Miners rise on Chinese stimulus hopes
- Economic data, Ukraine in focus
techMARK 2,775.13 +0.77%
FTSE 100 6,597.81 +1.19%
FTSE 250 16,115.48 +0.60%
Strong gains from a number of blue chips gave UK markets a boost on Tuesday, as the FTSE 100 bounced after hitting a seven-week low the previous session.
Kingfisher, easyJet, Wolseley, RSA and Anglo American were all putting in a decent performance this morning. Meanwhile, miners were on the rise on hopes that Chinese policymakers will inject stimulus after a recent spell of disappointing economic data.
"Mining companies are the main benefactor from the speculation that the People's Bank of China will add liquidity to the interbank market. This is an effort to shake off suspicion that the country's economy is slowing down," said David Madden, Market Analyst at IG.
The Footsie slid 0.6% to 6,520.39 on Monday, its worst closing level since February 5th when it finished at 6,457.89. However, a strong rebound this morning pushed London's benchmark index 1.2% higher to around 6,600 by midday, set to close at its highest mark in a week.
Investors were digesting a raft of economic data this morning, including figures which showed a decline in business confidence in Germany and a slowdown in UK retail sales growth. Meanwhile, UK consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 1.7% in February, down from 1.9% the previous month, as expected.
Stock futures Stateside were pointing to a positive start on Wall Street ahead of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, consumer confidence figures and new home sales, as well as speeches from two members of the Federal Reserve.
Markets were also keeping a close eye on Eastern Europe after Russian troops stormed more bases in Crimea in recent days following the annexation of the region last week. The world's top industrial powers removed Russia from the G8 yesterday as they met in The Hague, saying they are ready to "intensify actions including coordinated sectoral sanctions that will have an increasingly significant impact on the Russian economy, if Russia continues to escalate this situation".
Kingfisher, easyJet, Wolseley, RSA, Anglo
Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvement retailer, pleased shareholders after starting a new multi-year programme of additional capital returns as it revealed profits improved by 10% in the 12 months ended February 1st.
Budget airline easyJet advanced after raising its first-half guidance as it worked to drive down costs. The carrier expects a pre-tax loss for the six months ended March 31st 2014 between £55m and £65m, similar to last year but better than previous estimates.
A good US performance and a recovery in the UK helped builder's merchant Wolseley to boost half-year profits by nearly 9% and hike its dividend by a quarter, giving the stock a lift today.
RSA also gained after announcing plans for a fully underwritten rights issue to raise £773m to restore the UK insurer's capital position. The company said it will launch a three-to-eight rights issue at 56p per share, a substantial discount of around 405p on Monday's closing price.
Miner Anglo American was higher despite halting operations at its Los Bronces copper project in Chile due to violent protests by workers. Investec said: "Our analyst would expect only a negligible impact on earnings if this dispute with contractors gets resolved reasonably quickly." Other miners including BHP Billiton and Antofagasta were also higher.
Royal Mail was one of the few stocks on the FTSE 100 in the red after saying it is to begin talks with its unions about cutting a net 1,300 back office jobs in order to save £50m per year from 2016 onwards.
Online gaming group 888 jumped on the FTSE 250 after raising its full-year dividend by 56% and proposing a special dividend, as operating profits rose 13% in 2013.
Housebuiders Bovis Homes and Travis Perkins were also performing well after Citigroup upgraded its ratings on both stocks to 'buy'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Kingfisher (KGF) 433.50p +6.64%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,706.00p +4.53%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,940.50p +3.72%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,414.00p +3.33%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,484.00p +3.06%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,854.00p +2.89%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,276.50p +2.74%
Old Mutual (OML) 197.40p +2.55%
Standard Life (SL.) 375.20p +2.49%
CRH (CRH) 1,654.00p +2.41%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Mail (RMG) 574.50p -1.63%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 929.50p -1.27%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 308.60p -0.58%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 211.10p -0.52%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 453.80p -0.04%
FTSE 250 - Risers
888 Holdings (888) 146.80p +8.74%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 161.10p +6.48%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 124.40p +4.36%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 127.30p +4.09%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 218.80p +3.70%
Keller Group (KLR) 1,056.00p +3.53%
FirstGroup (FGP) 140.40p +2.78%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 360.70p +2.53%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 677.00p +2.50%
Inns (ETI) 145.10p +2.40%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 51.85p -10.14%
Polymetal International (POLY) 589.00p -3.44%
ITE Group (ITE) 202.40p -3.20%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,040.00p -2.71%
Xaar (XAR) 858.00p -2.61%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 425.40p -2.21%
Kentz Ltd. (KENZ) 738.00p -2.19%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 240.00p -1.84%
IP Group (IPO) 209.80p -1.82%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 240.80p -1.59%