- Japan launches new stimulus package
- Chinese inflation rises in December
- UK production misses the mark in November
Markets were making small gains on Friday morning as hopes for the Japanese economy offset concerns about price rises in China and a downbeat reading of UK production.
News from Japan had boosted sentiment in morning trade, where newly-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a 10.3tn-yen stimulus package, aimed at raising economic growth by 2% and creating 600,000 new jobs. The plan "shows a clear commitment to economic revitalization", Abe said at a conference in Tokyo.
However, limiting gains on stock markets this morning was Chinese inflation which rose to 2.5% in December as the cold weather resulted in an increase in food prices.
"While the figure remains well below the inflation target of 4%, it has raised concerns that it could lead to a tightening of monetary policy in the first half of this year," according to market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari. "The loosening of monetary policy appears to have been largely responsible for the improvement witnessed in the economy in the fourth quarter," he said.
As such, mining stocks in London were firmly out of favour this morning on concerns over Chinese growth, with BHP Billiton, Vedanta, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto registering losses.
In domestic news, UK production rose by just 0.3% in November, missing the consensus forecast rise of 0.8%.
In other news, German economic growth went into reverse in the fourth quarter due to weak demand from the Eurozone, according to a statement from the country's Ministry of Economics published today.
FTSE 100: IAG and financials flying high after upgrades
British Airways and Iberia owner IAG was in demand this morning after UBS upgraded the stock from 'neutral' to 'buy', following its underperformance against other European airline shares
under the broker's coverage. "We think that IAG could be the laggard most likely to outperform in 2013 should it achieve the concessions the company wants from Iberia staff," the broker said.
Financial stocks were performing well this morning with asset management firms given a lift by Credit Suisse. The Swiss broker said that the recent improvement in the macro backdrop should drive investor appetite "which bodes well for the asset managers". It upgraded Schroders to 'neutral' and maintained its 'outperform' recommendation for Aberdeen.
Elsewhere, insurance giant Aviva was boosted by an upgrade by Citigroup to 'buy'. Banking peers RBS, Barclays and Lloyds were also among the highest risers.
Oil giant Tullow was under the weather after achieving average working interest production of 79,200 barrels of oil per day (bopd) in 2012, below the forecast range of 80,000-84,000 bopped. The group also revealed that exploration write-offs more than doubled last year due to a number of unsuccessful drilling activities and licence relinquishments.
High Street giant Marks & Spencer was lower, extending losses from yesterday after its third-quarter sales disappointed the market. The stock was taken down a peg by HSBC this morning, which downgraded its recommendation for the shares to 'neutral'.
FTSE 250: Centamin and Moneysupermarket lead the risers
Gold miner Centamin continued to rise after its fourth-quarter production results on Wednesday, in which it beat output guidance by 5%. Liberum Capital labelled the stock as a compelling buy this morning. The shares have now risen by over a third in the last five days.
Price comparison website Moneysupermarket.com surged after saying that adjusted revenue is expected to have risen by 15% to £204.5m last year. Adjusted EBITDA is forecast to have risen 26% to £66m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 204.60p +3.91%
Aviva (AV.) 378.30p +2.80%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,323.00p +1.93%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 386.90p +1.79%
Barclays (BARC) 299.80p +1.77%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 660.00p +1.69%
Amec (AMEC) 1,082.00p +1.69%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,775.00p +1.43%
Sage Group (SGE) 314.70p +1.42%
ITV (ITV) 109.20p +1.39%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,158.00p -5.47%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,074.00p -2.72%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,298.00p -1.82%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,450.00p -1.75%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,185.00p -1.74%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 362.70p -1.65%
Tesco (TSCO) 350.00p -1.52%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,261.00p -1.48%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 814.00p -1.45%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,865.00p -1.43%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 56.65p +10.75%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 167.50p +5.81%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 376.00p +5.03%
Supergroup (SGP) 573.00p +4.95%
Henderson Group (HGG) 142.90p +3.93%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,616.00p +3.46%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 240.80p +3.13%
Laird (LRD) 238.00p +2.59%
Persimmon (PSN) 868.50p +2.54%
3i Group (III) 239.70p +2.39%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
FirstGroup (FGP) 191.10p -4.40%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 544.50p -3.20%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 34.34p -1.60%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 90.50p -1.58%
Cranswick (CWK) 876.50p -1.52%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 101.00p -1.46%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 374.60p -1.19%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 401.00p -1.13%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 266.80p -0.97%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 1,995.00p -0.80%