- Unilever, AstraZeneca and miners rise after updates
- WPP falls after Q3 disappointment
- Markets higher ahead of UK GDP
UK stocks edged higher on Thursday morning after a flurry of corporate updates were well received; however gains will likely will be modest this morning ahead of the UK growth figures due out in the coming hours.
Senior market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets said: "Over the past three months the recovery in a lot of UK economic data has pointed to a recovery in GDP data for the third quarter, more than offsetting the disappointing contraction in Q2.
"Whether or not you believe the Q2 figure was negatively skewed by the bad weather and the Jubilee bank holiday, which I don't, the likelihood is that due to the Olympic Games, hopes are high that the preliminary Q3 GDP number will come in around 0.6%," he said.
Speculation for decent growth has grown over the last few days after Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs that there would be "good news" coming soon about the economy.
Meanwhile, Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, suggested that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is ready to act if the recovery in the UK falters. In a speech in Cardiff yesterday, he said: "At this stage, it is difficult to know whether some of the recent more positive signs will persist. Should those signs fade, the MPC does stand ready to inject more money into the economy."
FTSE 100: Unilever, Astra and miners impress
Consumer products giant Unilever was in demand after underlying sales growth beat expectations in the third quarter, helped by a strong performance in the emerging markets.
Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca was higher after beating earnings expectations in third quarter and maintained its full-year targets.
Mining peers Anglo American and Kazakhmys gained after their well-received third-quarter production reports, while Fresnillo rose after approving the feasibility study for the development of the $500m San Julian silver project in Mexico.
Heading the other way was media giant WPP after it admitted its third-quarter growth was slower than that seen in the second quarter, which also came in short of expectations, while the fourth quarter is set to slow further.
Costa and Premier Inn owner Whitbread also fell after Citigroup downgraded its rating on the stock to 'neutral'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Unilever (ULVR) 2,335.00p +3.09%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,916.00p +2.08%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,924.00p +1.85%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,153.00p +1.68%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 41.05p +1.48%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,166.50p +1.34%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 760.00p +1.33%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,296.00p +1.25%
Xstrata (XTA) 986.60p +1.20%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,015.00p +1.10%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
WPP (WPP) 782.00p -3.22%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,258.00p -1.83%
Aggreko (AGK) 2,024.00p -1.08%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,088.00p -0.91%
ITV (ITV) 85.65p -0.87%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 670.00p -0.81%
Evraz (EVR) 249.00p -0.52%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,178.50p -0.50%
GKN (GKN) 203.90p -0.49%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,111.00p -0.42%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Debenhams (DEB) 115.70p +6.15%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 122.80p +4.42%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 770.00p +4.05%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 189.60p +3.89%
AZ Electronic Materials SA (DI) (AZEM) 327.90p +3.77%
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 198.10p +2.70%
Drax Group (DRX) 530.50p +2.02%
Man Group (EMG) 78.60p +2.01%
Perpetual Income & Growth Inv Trust (PLI) 283.30p +1.69%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 99.00p +1.64%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 593.00p -2.06%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 845.50p -1.91%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 780.00p -1.58%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,300.00p -1.44%
Supergroup (SGP) 662.00p -1.34%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 104.50p -1.14%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 331.40p -1.07%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,310.00p -1.06%
UK Commercial Property Trust (UKCM) 65.25p -0.99%
Regus (RGU) 102.10p -0.97%