- FTSE 100 on track for highest finish since July 7th
- BoE minutes eyed amid rate-hike speculation
- Capita gains after strong first half
- BHP leads miners higher as production rises
techMARK 2,836.01 +0.33%
FTSE 100 6,799.25 +0.06%
FTSE 250 15,704.44 +0.34%
After an initial fall, UK stocks pushed slightly into positive territory within the opening hour of trade on Wednesday with the FTSE 100 closing in on 6,800, a level it has not finished above in over two weeks.
Well-received results from Capita and BHP Billiton were helping markets higher, along with decent gains in the wider mining sector.
London's Footsie was trading 0.1% higher at 6,799 early on; the last time it ended above 6,800 was on July 7th.
Nevertheless, gains were limited this morning as investors awaited minutes from the latest Bank of England policy meeting amid speculation that interest rates could rise sooner than expected.
"The market will be watching to see if the UK economic recovery has been sufficiently robust to persuade one or two members to start voting in favour of a rate hike, though in our view if could still be some time before the majority vote for a hike," said Senior Currency Strategist Jane Foley at Rabobank.
Capita and BHP provide a boost
Fuelled by its highest ever level of bid pipeline prospects, outsourcing group Capita has secured £1.3bn of new contracts in the first half from a customer base ranging from John Lewis to the Transport for London and driven growth broadly in line with expectations. The stock was up around 2.4% this morning.
BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company by revenues, rose after hailing a strong first-half operating performance with annual records achieved across 12 operations and four commodity classes. Others in the mining sector such as Glencore, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta were also on the rise early on.
Accountancy software firm Sage was subdued after revealing that organic revenue growth slowed slightly to 4.3% in the third quarter. However, it still expects growth to be much stronger in the final three months of its financial year.
Chemicals group Johnson Matthey declined after saying that first-quarter results were affected, as expected, by currency headwinds and the loss of an important contract with platinum group Anglo American Platinum. Sales were more or less flat over the year.
Engineering group Renishaw surged early on after the company delivered all-time high annual revenue of £355.5m in the year to June 30th, up 2% year-on-year despite currency headwinds, helped by a record fourth quarter.
Utilities group SSE was a heavy faller on the FTSE 100 after going ex-dividend, along with exchange operator LSE.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Capita (CPI) 1,183.00p +2.42%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 198.25p +1.33%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,080.00p +1.24%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 838.50p +0.90%
GKN (GKN) 350.40p +0.86%
Glencore (GLEN) 372.25p +0.74%
Pearson (PSON) 1,111.00p +0.73%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 172.70p +0.70%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,850.00p +0.67%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,359.00p +0.66%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
SSE (SSE) 1,470.00p -4.61%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,996.00p -2.06%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,705.00p -1.56%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,917.00p -1.49%
Barclays (BARC) 208.85p -0.83%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,084.00p -0.73%
Tesco (TSCO) 275.45p -0.69%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 331.10p -0.66%
Friends Life Group Limited (FLG) 333.50p -0.60%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,209.00p -0.58%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Renishaw (RSW) 1,681.00p +14.35%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 310.60p +3.26%
Henderson Group (HGG) 256.40p +2.81%
Synthomer (SYNT) 218.90p +2.48%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 399.90p +2.46%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 51.00p +2.45%
AO World (AO.) 219.10p +2.19%
Senior (SNR) 275.90p +2.15%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 329.00p +2.08%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 418.60p +2.07%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Perform Group (PER) 210.00p -2.28%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 512.00p -1.06%
BTG (BTG) 617.00p -1.04%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 987.00p -0.95%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,152.00p -0.88%
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust (JMG) 554.50p -0.81%
Drax Group (DRX) 697.50p -0.78%
Greencore Group (GNC) 273.40p -0.76%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 213.90p -0.74%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 282.80p -0.70%