- Mining stocks fall as Chinese data weakens
- Eurozone PMIs and UK retail sales disappoint
- US data, Jackson Hole ahead
techMARK 2,810.76 +0.50%
FTSE 100 6,772.04 +0.25%
FTSE 250 15,797.15 +0.31%
Falls in the heavyweight mining sector weren't enough to stop the FTSE 100 from advancing on Thursday despite a barrage of weak economic data from across the globe.
"The data seen so far today hasn't been great but that hasn't affected investors' appetite for risk, as European indices have continued their march higher," said market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari UK.
London's Footsie was trading 0.25% higher at 6,772 by midday.
Economic data misses forecasts
Mining stocks were under pressure in morning trade after manufacturing data from top metals consumer China disappointed, while metals prices weakened on the back of a stronger US dollar.
The HSBC China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropped from 51.7 to a three-month low 50.3 in August. The fall ended a streak of four straight monthly improvements in activity growth and disappointed analysts looking for a slight dip to 51.5.
The Eurozone composite PMI, which measures activity in both manufacturing and services, fell from 53.8 to 52.8 in August, missing the 53.4 forecast as readings from both sectors came in below expectations.
Closer to home, UK retail sales growth came in at just 0.1% in July, under the 0.4% increase expected by analysts, according to Office for National Statistics. The ONS also released figures showing that while UK public finances improved last month borrowing still remains above the government's target.
Looking ahead to the US session, stock futures on Wall Street were edging higher in pre-market trade ahead of a host of economic data, including jobless claims, the Markit manufacturing PMI, existing-home sales and the Philadelphia Fed index.
Meanwhile, the Jackson Hole Symposium of central bankers is due to kick off later on with comments from policymakers around the world likely to be closely watched.
Mining stocks fall
Weak data from top metals consumer China and falling metal prices dampened the demand for mining stocks on Wednesday with Fresnillo, Randgold, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP Billiton trading lower.
BHP Billiton was still under pressure in the aftermath of Tuesday's underwhelming plans for a demerger. Chief financial officer Graham Kerr, who is due to be the head of the spin-off company, has been cited as saying that the lack of a share buyback - which many investors had been expecting - was a "sore point", while plans to give shareholders stock in the new firm could have "irritated" some who are not mandated to hold investments in Australia.
Kazakh metal miner Kazakhmys hailed progress with a shake-up designed to focus it on the lucrative copper market, but shares
fell sharply after it said 2014 gold production was likely to fall short of hopes.
Oil and gas stocks were also out of favour including Ophir Energy, Tullow and Shell.
Premier Oil was more or less flat after saying it had a "strong six months" with better-than-expected production leading to higher revenues and cash flows. However, it saw a sharp reduction in pre-tax profit in the first half due to impairments.
Leading the upside in London were a raft of pharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks, including Astrazeneca, Glaxosmithkline, Shire and Hikma Pharmaceuticals.
Financials such as Schroders, Aviva, Old Mutual and Hargreaves Lansdown were also providing a lift.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Schroders (SDR) 2,385.00p +2.36%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,372.50p +2.04%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,438.00p +1.45%
CRH (CRH) 1,391.00p +1.31%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 945.50p +1.23%
Old Mutual (OML) 196.20p +1.13%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 363.50p +1.08%
Aviva (AV.) 521.00p +1.07%
Diageo (DGE) 1,769.00p +1.00%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,120.00p +0.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 938.50p -3.50%
Kingfisher (KGF) 306.60p -1.73%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,576.50p -1.10%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,947.00p -1.00%
Royal Mail (RMG) 441.80p -0.88%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 812.00p -0.85%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,430.00p -0.81%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,211.50p -0.78%
Pearson (PSON) 1,120.00p -0.71%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,330.00p -0.67%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Rank Group (RNK) 166.00p +3.49%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 204.90p +3.48%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,740.00p +2.84%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 647.00p +2.70%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 519.00p +2.57%
Amlin (AML) 439.00p +2.26%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,366.00p +2.25%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,073.00p +2.19%
Senior (SNR) 287.70p +2.17%
Xaar (XAR) 558.50p +2.10%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 292.90p -5.06%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 119.80p -3.39%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 145.30p -3.20%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 162.20p -2.29%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 62.85p -2.26%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 186.80p -2.05%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 225.20p -1.96%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 240.30p -1.52%
Serco Group (SRP) 305.10p -1.39%
Stock Spirits Group (STCK) 290.50p -1.36%