- Stocks set to close at highest level this month
- Stimulus bets continue to drive gains
- Putin comments help sentiment, but developments closely watched
- BHP Billiton considering demerger of assets
techMARK 2,756.41 +0.25%
FTSE 100 6,717.11 +0.48%
FTSE 250 15,732.60 +0.36%
Stocks rose strongly on Friday morning with the FTSE 100 heading for its third straight gain as speculation of further central bank stimulus worldwide continued to lift sentiment in spite of ongoing geopolitical uncertainty.
London's benchmark index was up 0.5% at 6,717 in early trading, heading for a weekly gain of around 2.3%, with BHP Billiton leading the heavyweight mining sector higher. The last time the Footsie closed higher was on 31 July when it settled at 6,730.11.
Disappointing indicators from China and a stagnation in Europe has spurred hopes in recent days that policymakers will step in to give growth a boost. Easing concerns about an early rate hike by the Bank of England were also supporting stocks after the central bank warned on weak wage growth in the UK.
Comments on Thursday from Russian President Vladimir Putin about ending the crisis in Ukraine were also helping investor risk appetite in London, as well as the resignation of Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Maliki overnight as he supported the formation of a new government.
However, markets were keeping a close eye on developments in Ukraine as a result of reports of armoured personnel vehicles crossing the border from Russia amid an ongoing row over Moscow sending a convoy of humanitarian aid.
The second estimate of UK gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter will be released on Friday on an otherwise quiet day for European economic data. GDP is expected to have expanded 3.1% in the second quarter, in line with the preliminary estimate.
Meanwhile in the States, the producer price index, Empire State manufacturing, industrial production and University of Michigan consumer confidence figures will keep US investors busy later on.
BHP gains on demerger comments
BHP Billiton shares
jumped after the company said that it is considering a demerger of certain assets in an effort to make the business "simpler and more productive".
The company, which is the largest mining company in the world by revenues, is currently undergoing its "next phase of simplification" and will update the market after the board reconvenes next week.
Other miners such as Rio Tinto and Glencore were also performing well early on.
Construction group Balfour Beatty was flat after again rejecting Carillion's takeover proposal, branding it "opportunistic" and accusing Carillion of wanting to reduce Balfour's UK construction revenues by up to two-thirds. Carillion's shares were firmly lower in morning trade.
FTSE 100 - Risers
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,080.00p +2.69%
BG Group (BG.) 1,181.50p +2.16%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,281.00p +2.07%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,135.00p +1.72%
Tesco (TSCO) 248.40p +1.31%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,419.50p +1.29%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 354.80p +1.05%
Glencore (GLEN) 364.45p +1.05%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 875.00p +1.04%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 335.20p +0.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,821.00p -0.66%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 238.30p -0.42%
Pearson (PSON) 1,116.00p -0.36%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,714.00p -0.35%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 649.50p -0.29%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,610.00p -0.23%
G4S (GFS) 266.10p -0.19%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,039.00p -0.19%
Intu Properties (INTU) 336.10p -0.18%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,287.00p -0.16%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 283.30p +3.89%
Premier Oil (PMO) 336.60p +3.09%
EnQuest (ENQ) 122.90p +2.85%
Perform Group (PER) 212.10p +2.46%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 144.20p +2.34%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 866.00p +2.30%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 216.20p +2.13%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 294.80p +1.94%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 217.20p +1.83%
Rank Group (RNK) 171.80p +1.78%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Just Eat (JE.) 244.50p -6.68%
SVG Capital (SVI) 405.00p -5.70%
Carillion (CLLN) 336.50p -2.97%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 589.00p -2.24%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 166.00p -1.78%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 68.80p -1.57%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,665.00p -1.48%
IP Group (IPO) 197.30p -1.10%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 300.30p -0.99%
Homeserve (HSV) 322.00p -0.92%