Investors are giving a tip of the hat to the Bank of Japan this morning, after the Japanese central bank opted to beef up its quantitative easing programme.
The news from the world's third largest economy has lifted miners in particular, and even with the usual Wednesday glut of stocks going ex-dividend - among them Aviva, G4S, Interserve, Melrose, Petrofac, Premier Farnell, IG Group and Kier - the major benchmarks are making headway.
Lonmin leads the advance
Striking workers at Lonmin's Marikana operations are to return to work on Thursday after a settlement was reached late on Tuesday night. The agreement includes a signing bonus of R2,000 and an average rise in wages of between 11% and 22% for all employees falling within the "Category 3-8" bargaining units, effective from 1st October 2012. This includes the previously agreed 9-10% rises for these employees due to come into effect in October 2012. It also addresses issues of promotion for some categories of workers as well as other allowances.
Technology company Smiths Group saw top line growth across all of its divisions last year, as revenue broke through the £3bn barrier. Revenue for the year ended July 31st rose 7%, or an underlying 5%, to £3,038m from £2,842m the year before, beating the £2,978m expected by the market. Headline profit before tax was also above market expectations, rising 7% to £554m from £517m the year before. The median forecast from the group of analysts following the stock was £451m. Statutory profit before tax dipped to £366m from £398m as a result of laundry list of exceptional items.
International engineering firm AMEC is buying a stake in a Brazilian oil and gas company as it builds its presence in the largest deep-water market in the world. The agreement will mean AMEC acquires a 50% stake in Kromav Engenharia from its owner managers for $12.5m in cash. Kromav is a privately owned Brazilian offshore oil and gas and marine engineering company based in Rio de Janeiro.
Online fashion and beauty store ASOS continued its recent barnstorming performance, boosting revenues by a third in the last quarter. Retail sales were up 31% year-on-year, with a 15% rise in the UK and a 42% jump in international trading.
It was a different story at French Connection, where the shares
took a hammering after the group reported a first half loss. The fashion group, which issued a profit warning in May, posted a pre-tax loss of £6.3m in the six-month period ended July 31st 2012 compared to a profit of £0.7m in 2011. Revenue during the period fell to £96m compared to £102.8m a year earlier.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 764.00p +2.96%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,064.50p +2.76%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,065.00p +2.21%
Rexam (REX) 433.30p +2.05%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,866.00p +2.02%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 362.10p +1.77%
Evraz (EVR) 284.40p +1.75%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,108.00p +1.56%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,092.00p +1.49%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 339.70p +1.40%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aviva (AV.) 333.80p -3.22%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,335.00p -1.14%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,219.00p -0.74%
Diageo (DGE) 1,705.50p -0.73%
G4S (GFS) 265.40p -0.60%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 859.00p -0.46%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 586.00p -0.42%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,103.00p -0.36%
Experian (EXPN) 1,031.00p -0.29%
National Grid (NG.) 684.00p -0.22%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Lonmin (LMI) 696.50p +7.15%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 226.80p +5.34%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 94.25p +3.97%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 450.30p +3.49%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 176.00p +2.98%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 119.80p +2.92%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 321.00p +2.42%
Ruspetro (RPO) 110.00p +2.33%
Hunting (HTG) 891.00p +2.24%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 52.00p +2.16%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 452.80p -3.50%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 118.80p -2.94%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,321.00p -2.65%
Savills (SVS) 396.00p -2.51%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 195.70p -2.39%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 2,850.00p -2.23%
RPS Group (RPS) 246.90p -2.18%
Computacenter (CCC) 386.10p -2.03%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 705.00p -1.88%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 182.40p -1.41%