- HSBC leads banks higher, Intertek rises
- UK construction PMI beats forecasts
- Portugal concerns ease after BES rescue
techMARK 2,748.21 -0.12%
FTSE 100 6,711.03 +0.48%
FTSE 250 15,387.53 -0.10%
UK stocks pushed higher on Monday as the FTSE 100 rebounded after three straight days of losses, as domestic economic data beat forecasts and nerves about Portugal's banking sector eased.
Banks were leading the markets higher in London following a warm reaction to the latest results from sector heavyweight HSBC, while product testing group Intertek also impressed.
The Footsie was trading 0.5% higher at 6,711 by midday. The index had lost around 1.9% of its value over the last three trading sessions to finish at 6,679.18 on Friday, its lowest finish since 10 July.
However, with geopolitical tensions in Gaza and Ukraine still firmly in the spotlight, there was still "a little caution in the markets", according to market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari. He said: "Investors are a little concerned that the sell-off which started last week is not over and could lead to something much bigger."
From a technical point of view, Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: "While good to see a bounce, and bulls will be eyeing recent 6,835 highs, we await a decent break above 6,700 before ruling out merely a pause before another leg down to the 6,500 level."
Economic data on Monday showed that UK housing construction activity in July registered the sharpest rise since November 2003, led by a record pace of job creation and a shortage of supplies. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index for the construction sector eased back to 62.4 in July from 62.6 in June, but still came in above the 62 forecast and well above the 50 level that signals growth.
Developments in Portugal were also helping to repair market sentiment this weekend after the central bank unveiled plans to save struggling lender Banco Espirito Santo (BES). BES will be split into 'good' and 'bad' banks as part of a €4.9bn rescue.
Shares in banking giant HSBC gained strongly despite reporting a larger-than-expected 12% drop in first-half pre-tax profits to $12.34bn, with underlying profits down 4%. "Whilst regulatory uncertainty persists, our balance sheet remains strong and our continuing ability to generate capital supports both growth and our progressive dividend policy," the company's chief executive Stuart Gulliver said.
Sector peers Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered and Barclays were also in demand.
Product testing, inspection and certification group Intertek rose after saying that organic revenue growth should pick up in the second half. Financial results for the first half were weaker than last year due to currency movements and continued headwinds in the minerals and energy-related businesses.
Mining stocks also advanced on the back of an improvement in risk appetite with Glencore, Anglo American and Antofagasta making gains.
On the FTSE 250, Alent, Keller and Esure were performing well after their interim results, while Telecity and Senior both disappointed.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,609.00p +3.00%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 641.60p +1.95%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 74.68p +1.84%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,442.50p +1.84%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 354.80p +1.37%
Glencore (GLEN) 361.00p +1.36%
Barclays (BARC) 226.90p +1.18%
Rexam (REX) 506.50p +1.10%
BG Group (BG.) 1,221.50p +1.08%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 418.40p +0.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,091.00p -1.80%
Royal Mail (RMG) 421.30p -1.59%
Carnival (CCL) 2,120.00p -1.21%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 347.30p -1.19%
IMI (IMI) 1,429.00p -1.11%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,006.00p -1.08%
Capita (CPI) 1,168.00p -1.02%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,069.00p -1.02%
Pearson (PSON) 1,126.00p -0.97%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,287.00p -0.85%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Alent (ALNT) 347.90p +5.30%
Keller Group (KLR) 911.50p +4.17%
Man Group (EMG) 120.60p +3.25%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 246.70p +2.88%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 166.30p +2.34%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 341.30p +1.91%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 52.75p +1.83%
Evraz (EVR) 100.40p +1.83%
esure Group (ESUR) 261.90p +1.83%
NMC Health (NMC) 469.00p +1.74%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
PayPoint (PAY) 1,047.00p -3.68%
Afren (AFR) 110.10p -3.51%
Telecity Group (TCY) 763.50p -3.48%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 746.50p -2.74%
AO World (AO.) 193.60p -2.71%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 184.10p -2.59%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 96.25p -2.43%
Senior (SNR) 256.70p -2.17%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 217.20p -2.16%
Dignity (DTY) 1,359.00p -2.16%