- FTSE 100 tracks S&P 500
higher after another record close
- Taper speculation picks up ahead of Fed meeting
- China, UK data comes in mixed
- Weir extends gains on GE bid reports
techMARK 2,685.85 +0.23%
FTSE 100 6,571.16 +0.18%
FTSE 250 15,455.13 +0.41%
UK markets were rangebound on Tuesday morning but trading with positive momentum, rising for a third straight day after another record close on Wall Street the night before.
Engineering group Weir was among the best performers of the day in London on reports of renewed interest from a well-known American conglomerate, while Lloyds gained after profiting from a sale of its stake in St James's Place.
The FTSE 100 edged higher in morning trade, up 0.18% at 6,571.16 by around midday; it has not closed above this level since December 2nd.
The S&P 500 finished at a fresh all-time high on Monday night as hawkish comments from a number of Federal Reserve policymakers failed to prevent the benchmark index hitting its 39th record close this year.
St Louis Fed President James Bullard said yesterday that recent improvements in the US labour market could warrant a small taper of asset purchases at the central bank's policy meeting on December 17-18th. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Lacker from the Richmond Fed said a taper will be on the table at this month's meeting, and Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher called for a taper at the "earliest opportunity".
"The trend recently has been for any hint of tapering in December to be negative for the markets but that appears to have changed, starting on Friday with the US jobs report," said Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari. "The response to the report showed that attitudes in the market has changed and tapering is no longer going to fill investors with fear. Well, as long as it's only moderate tapering. Anything larger and we'll be back to square one."
Nevertheless, upside on markets this morning was limited after some mixed data from China, as a pick-up in retail sales growth in November came alongside a slowdown in industrial output and fixed-asset investments.
Economic figures from the UK were also mixed today; industrial and manufacturing production growth both accelerated in October; but the trade deficit for October was wider than expected.
Comments from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney were in focus today after he said that the UK economy needs sustained low interest rates to boost growth. He said it would be a mistake "to rush to a more extreme response".
Weir gains on M&A rumours, Lloyds sells St James's Place stake
Engineering group Weir was a high riser, extending gains after a solid performance on Monday on renewed rumours that it could be the target of a possible £5.9bn bid from US conglomerate General Electric.
Lloyds was higher on the news that it has offloaded its remaining stake in wealth management group St James's Place, as it continues its reduction of 'non-core' assets. The bank raised gross proceeds of £680m from placing its remaining 21% interest in SJP, realising a gain on sale of around £105m.
TUI Travel was in the red despite reporting record annual profits as margins sizzled during the peak summer period, particularly in the UK. Profit before tax soared 21% to £473m on revenue up 4% to £15.05bn in the year to September 30th.
Precious metals miner Fresnillo fell after it lowered its annual gold production forecast by 8.4% to 425,900 ounces. Resource peer Antofagasta gained after a Credit Suisse upgrade to 'neutral', while Kazakhmys was lower after the same bank reduced its rating to 'underperform'.
Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn, Beefeater and Costa chains, fell despite saying it is on track to deliver full-year results in line with expectations following a strong third quarter.
Investors at wireless technology firm CSR celebrated the company's decision to discontinue investment in its camera-on-a-chip (COACH) platform due to "weakness in the digital still camera market". The firm said it would be taking an impairment charge of $90m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,152.00p +3.86%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 266.50p +2.38%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,255.00p +2.20%
Prudential (PRU) 1,292.00p +2.05%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,213.00p +1.74%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 3,004.00p +1.59%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,691.00p +1.56%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,399.00p +1.52%
SSE (SSE) 1,318.00p +1.38%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 101.80p +1.29%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vedanta Resources (VED) 808.50p -1.58%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 856.00p -1.55%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,297.00p -1.29%
William Hill (WMH) 373.20p -1.27%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,823.00p -1.14%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,490.00p -0.99%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,588.00p -0.75%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,288.00p -0.61%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,454.50p -0.58%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,273.00p -0.53%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 564.50p +10.69%
Victrex (VCT) 1,668.00p +6.58%
Savills (SVS) 642.50p +3.88%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,805.00p +3.20%
Homeserve (HSV) 266.50p +2.94%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 344.90p +2.92%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 390.80p +2.84%
Keller Group (KLR) 1,074.00p +2.78%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,217.00p +2.78%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 720.00p +2.56%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Essar Energy (ESSR) 70.00p -4.44%
Dialight (DIA) 848.00p -3.64%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 408.40p -2.30%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,061.00p -1.94%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 209.30p -1.88%
TR Property Inv Trust (TRY) 218.10p -1.85%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 760.50p -1.81%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 140.70p -1.26%
Bodycote (BOY) 622.50p -1.19%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 870.00p -1.14%