- FTSE rises around 40 points in first hour
- US gains provide driving force
- Focus to be on Fed meeting minutes
techMARK 2,719.29 +0.81%
FTSE 100 6,618.78 +0.43%
FTSE 250 16,132.68 +0.74%
UK stocks kicked off today's session in a positive fashion, lifted by a decent performance in the US overnight and ahead of the release of the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting.
The FTSE climbed around 40 points in the first hour of trading, driven by ARM Holdings and housebuilders.
US stocks ended yesterday's session with modest gains, following three days of heavy declines, in what was a rather turbulent day following heightened tensions in Eastern Europe.
Notably, the Nasdaq rose 0.8% as it recovered from its worst three-day slump since 2011.
Aluminum producer Alcoa marked the unofficial start of the first-quarter earnings season with its results, with revenue slightly below consensus forecasts, although shares
put in a decent rise after hours.
Overnight, Asia stocks were also broadly higher, with the notable exception of Japan.
It was yesterday announced that Japan and Australia are set to sign an historic trade deal to reduce the tariffs imposed on a number of products, following seven years of negotiations.
The agreement comes amid attempts, driven by the US, to form a free trade plan between 12 countries, in which Japan is seen as a key player, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Today's attention will be focused on the US Federal Reserve, which will release minutes of its meeting in March when it announced another round of stimulus tapering.
The central bank shaved off a further $10bn off its monthly bond purchase following the March 18th to 19th meeting. Fed Chair Janet Yellen surprised markets by saying the first rise in interest rates could come six months after the end to quantitative easing.
If the Fed keeps up the current pace of asset buying reductions, the programme will end around October.
Last week Yellen said the bank's "extraordinary commitment" to improving the labour market "is still needed and will be for some time, and I believe that this view is widely held by my fellow policymakers at the Fed".
The minutes may shed further light on the Fed's decision to scale back QE and on Yellen's remarks regarding interest rates.
ARM rises following strong performance of tech stocks Stateside
ARM Holdings was a notable riser this morning, with investors feeling a renewed sense of confidence after the tech-heavy Nasdaq snapped its recent slump.
Housebuilding stocks Barratt Developments and Travis Perkins both performed well as the industry continues to see encouraging signs of improvement.
Insurance stocks extended yesterday's declines following the news that the Financial Conduct Authority is to conduct an inquiry into its bungled announcement of an industry inspection.
Rolls-Royce climbed after announcing that it has been awarded a $100m contract to service the US Navy's T-45 training aircraft. The contractor logistics support contract with the US Department of Defense is a one-year extension to the existing agreement. Rolls-Royce has provided support to the US Navy's training fleet for the past 10 years.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 924.00p +2.55%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 1,007.00p +2.29%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,319.50p +2.25%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 388.70p +1.97%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,400.00p +1.89%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,820.00p +1.85%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,781.00p +1.77%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,401.00p +1.52%
TUI Travel (TT.) 429.30p +1.51%
ITV (ITV) 190.60p +1.49%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,353.00p -2.17%
Standard Life (SL.) 378.00p -1.95%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 861.00p -1.09%
Tesco (TSCO) 285.30p -0.89%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 885.50p -0.78%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,117.00p -0.49%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,413.00p -0.39%
Carnival (CCL) 2,328.00p -0.34%
St James's Place (STJ) 770.50p -0.32%
Fresnillo (FRES) 902.50p -0.28%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 326.60p +6.66%
Carillion (CLLN) 380.20p +5.49%
Evraz (EVR) 81.75p +3.55%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 323.40p +3.52%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 266.30p +3.38%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,016.00p +3.23%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 408.50p +3.10%
Pace (PIC) 443.70p +2.71%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 95.10p +2.70%
IP Group (IPO) 209.60p +2.69%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
esure Group (ESUR) 250.90p -6.28%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 231.80p -2.93%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 122.60p -1.92%
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 240.40p -1.60%
International Public Partnerships Ltd. (INPP) 126.20p -1.02%
F&C Commercial Property Trust Ltd. (FCPT) 119.10p -1.00%
UK Commercial Property Trust (UKCM) 80.80p -0.92%
Bodycote (BOY) 787.00p -0.88%
888 Holdings (888) 146.80p -0.81%
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,714.00p -0.81%