After a bright start London reversed course shortly after 10:00 and the top-share index is now little changed.
Miners are still going well, clawing back some of yesterday's losses, but utilities are out of favour, especially National Grid, after JP Morgan Cazenove downgraded the stock to "underweight" from "neutral".
Elsewhere in the mining sector, traders are still drumming their fingers, waiting impatiently for the independent directors of Xstrata to indicate whether they have been persuaded of the merits of the revised offer from Glencore. The deadline for the board's response to the proposed "take it or leave it" offer is on Monday.
The public sector´s net borrowing (PSNB) for the month of August (excluding interventions) was £14.4bn, below the £15bn expected by the consensus. The public sector´s net cash requirement (PSNCR) on the other hand has come in at -£9.6bn pounds, well ahead of the -£5bn expected (two negatives making a surplus in this insrance). The latter figure however was flattered by publicly controlled banks. Thus, the central government balance was in deficit by £8.5bn.
Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King said in a Channel 4 interview last night that if there was a genuine excuse then the government could afford to allow the burden of public debt to continue to rise after 2015-16.
Sage flying down to Rio
The Sage Group has acquired EBS Empresa Brasileira de Sistemas, a provider of accounting, business management and tax software in Brazil. The acquisition will cost the group up to £10.6m, including a performance related sum of £1.8m.
Property company British Land has offloaded seven food stores to institutional investors. The company sold the gaggle of supermarkets at prices in line with March valuations to raise £118m, of which British Land's share is £62m. The stores were sold at net initial yields of between 4.95% and 5.7%.
Platinum miner Lonmin reported that more than 80% of miners turned up for work at its Marikana operations after workers called off their strike late on Tuesday following a settlement.
The accord, however, will be quite costly for the company. Following the Marikana agreement Credit Suisse has this downgraded its 2012/13 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) forecasts from $218m to $95m in 2012 and from $195m to $29m in 2013.
"A positive equity case on Lonmin in our view could be made if the company can grow to 950koz per year. which would require capex of $450m at a minimum." That, however, would require an equity raise of at least $500m, together with some debt, or $1bn should all its debt be eliminated, the Credit Suisse scribblers suggest.
Credit Suisse has reiterated its "underperform" stance and 525p price target on the miner´s shares.
Lift platform firm going down
Tanfield, a global manufacturer of powered access equipment and an investor in Smith Electric Vehicles, slumped after plans to float Smith were binned.
"We received significant interest from potential investors, however, we were unable to complete a transaction at a valuation or size that would be in the best interests of our company and its existing shareholders," said Bryan Hansel, Smith's Chief Executive Officer.
Things just keep getting worse for HMV, the retailer which left it too late to move away from its dependency on selling CDs, DVDs and books in their physical forms. The group saw like-for-like sales decline 11.6% year-on-year in the 20 weeks to September 15th. Including the impact of previously announced store closures, total group sales declined by 14.8%.
"The like-for-like decline was less marked towards the end of the period and we should be helped in the remainder of the year by a strong pipeline of new releases in the music, DVD and games markets ahead of Christmas," said Trevor Moore, the group's newish Chief Executive.
Slick numbers from oil companies
Nighthawk, a US-focused shale oil development and production company, has said a continuous 24-hour flow test on the John Craig 6-2 well at its 75% owned and operated project at Jolly Ranch in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, Colorado, produced over 600 barrels of oil. The well tested commercial oil flow rates from the Cherokee shale formation, while three further potential oil-bearing zones have been clearly identified in addition to further Cherokee targets, which have not yet been tested.
Shares in Texan oil firm Empyrean Energy moved to a 52-week high on the back of a production update for new wells completed recently on the group's Sugarloaf project. The group has nine wells on the go at the project and has a 3.0% working interest in each of them. The two biggest producers - Davila 1H and Davila 2H - produced an average of 1,123 barrels of equivalent per day over a 30-day period, the group revealed.
The price of oil is back on the rise. The most widely traded futures contract for Brent crude is up 43 cents to $110.46 a barrel.
With investors regaining their appetite for risk, gilts are spurned. The yield on the benchmark 10-year gilt is up to 1.84% from 1.80% overnight. Yields move inversely to prices.
Futures markets suggest US equities are set to open on a firm note.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,081.00p +2.56%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 346.90p +1.43%
IMI (IMI) 947.50p +1.39%
Evraz (EVR) 264.40p +1.38%
Pearson (PSON) 1,198.00p +1.35%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,634.00p +1.30%
Amec (AMEC) 1,157.00p +1.22%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 39.78p +1.17%
Capita (CPI) 774.00p +1.11%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 308.20p +1.05%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 3,608.00p -1.66%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,369.00p -1.25%
ITV (ITV) 90.15p -1.10%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,046.00p -1.01%
National Grid (NG.) 687.00p -1.01%
British Land Co (BLND) 528.00p -0.85%
Meggitt (MGGT) 402.70p -0.79%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 635.00p -0.78%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,819.00p -0.71%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 2,929.00p -0.69%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ruspetro (RPO) 109.00p +4.81%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 532.00p +4.01%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 44.19p +3.83%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 122.60p +3.72%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 92.75p +3.46%
JPMorgan Indian Inv Trust (JII) 359.90p +3.12%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 216.20p +3.05%
Halfords Group (HFD) 266.70p +2.77%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 19.19p +2.62%
Hunting (HTG) 875.00p +2.58%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Lonmin (LMI) 594.00p -2.70%
PayPoint (PAY) 738.00p -1.99%
NMC Health (NMC) 186.50p -1.84%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 581.50p -1.44%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 793.50p -1.43%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 312.60p -1.36%
Perform Group (PER) 384.90p -1.31%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 720.00p -1.30%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 638.00p -1.24%
Halma (HLMA) 443.00p -1.23%