- Results impress from BT, BSkyB, Lloyds...
- Markets await barrage of economic data Stateside
- Chinese manufacturing beats expectations
Impressive gains from BT Group, Lloyds, BSkyB and Legal & General were lifting the FTSE 100 higher on Thursday, with better-than-expected economic figures from China providing a catalyst for buying.
The HSBC Chinese manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index for the month of October rose to 49.5, from 47.9 in the month before, according to survey compiler Markit. This was an eight-month high and not far from the key level of 50 which indicates that the sector contraction has ceased. The consensus estimate was for 49.1.
In UK economic news, manufacturing PMI for the month of October retreated to 47.5 points, after a reading of 48.1 (preliminary: 48.4) in the month before, according to the figures released by Markit. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 48.
Markets across Europe were broadly higher today, though gains were moderate. Indices are "lacking a whole lot of conviction and volume as most of Europe observes All Saints' Day," said market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital.
Investors will likely be keeping a close eye on the US today as a barrage of economic indicators Stateside come out in the next few hours. In total, nine separate pieces of data are due out today, including consumer confidence, construction spending and jobless claims.
FTSE 100: BT, Lloyds are standout performers after results
Telecommunications giant BT surged after it bumped up its interim dividend following a solid second quarter which saw profits before tax grow 7% despite a 9% fall in adjusted revenue.
Banking giant Lloyds rose strongly after an 'in-line' third-quarter statement. The lender said that it is making progress despite delivering a statutory loss before tax of £583m for the first nine months of the year, including a further Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) provision of £1bn in the third quarter.
Pay-TV and broadband provider BSkyB advanced after seeing decent growth across the board in the first quarter, helped by the number of high-profile sporting events that fell in the period, such as the US Open, Ryder Cup and Olympic Games.
Anglo-Dutch integrated oil major Shell rose after its third-quarter net income was comfortably ahead of expectations. "I am pleased with our progress in a difficult industry environment. There is more to come from Shell," said CEO Peter Voser.
Investments and insurance group Legal & General was wanted after generating record revenues in the third quarter, with UK and US protection sales each rising by around a third.
Oilfield support services company Wood Group also rose after announcing that a series of management changes has come into effect today, including the retirement of its Chairman Sir Ian Wood.
However, not all updates received approval by the markets this morning: speciality chemicals group Croda tanked after selling its Italian business and saying that month-to-month trading in the third quarter had been "volatile".
Commodities trader and mines owner Glencore was subdued after saying its third quarter was a good one, despite generally weaker commodity prices.
Oil and gas firm BG Group was continuing to fall after cutting back production guidance yesterday. Shares are now down 16% on the week.
FTSE 250: Centamin and Dixons surge; Chemring plummets
Gold miner Centamin jumped after shares
were restored to trading; the stock was suspended on Tuesday after media reports suggested that a court had over-ruled a 2005 decision to award the company its flagship contract to mine at the Sukari project in Egypt. In a written statement yesterday, Centamin reassured that no written decision has yet been made but it still stood firm that the court does not have jurisdiction to cancel the concession.
Electricals retailer Dixons was registering impressive gains on news that its main High Street rival, Comet, is likely to go into administration.
Defence contractor Chemring disappointed investors today after reducing profit expectations for the financial year ended October 31st following delays and technical problems in a number of contracts.
FTSE 100 - Risers
BT Group (BT.A) 226.20p +6.45%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 43.15p +6.35%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 744.50p +5.01%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 139.10p +3.81%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 284.90p +3.22%
Barclays (BARC) 233.85p +2.79%
Next (NXT) 3,646.00p +2.24%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,191.00p +2.14%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 675.50p +1.58%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 867.50p +1.52%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BG Group (BG.) 1,097.00p -4.40%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,143.00p -2.64%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,387.00p -1.21%
Old Mutual (OML) 170.00p -1.16%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 648.00p -1.07%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,593.00p -0.69%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,350.00p -0.68%
Meggitt (MGGT) 383.70p -0.60%
Serco Group (SRP) 563.50p -0.53%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 266.50p -0.52%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 72.95p +14.30%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 23.44p +13.79%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 122.30p +7.19%
Hunting (HTG) 792.50p +5.88%
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 200.00p +3.47%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 522.50p +3.36%
Halfords Group (HFD) 356.20p +3.07%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 138.00p +2.99%
Soco International (SIA) 347.70p +2.93%
Cookson Group (CKSN) 598.00p +2.66%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Chemring Group (CHG) 259.50p -17.28%
SDL (SDL) 505.00p -4.81%
Henderson Group (HGG) 113.50p -2.99%
Lonmin (LMI) 500.00p -2.53%
Perform Group (PER) 390.90p -2.52%
Mondi (MNDI) 665.00p -2.49%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 483.30p -2.36%
Playtech Ltd. (PTEC) 415.40p -1.94%
ITE Group (ITE) 189.70p -1.81%
RPS Group (RPS) 229.90p -1.71%