- GKN, Next and Mondi impress with updates/results
- St James's Place drops despite strong first half
- West-Russia tensions rise as sanctions eyed
- US data, Gaza in focus
techMARK 2,780.14 +0.15%
FTSE 100 6,806.28 +0.27%
FTSE 250 15,662.90 +0.30%
Strong gains from GKN, Next and Mondi helped UK markets higher on Tuesday morning, with stocks tracking gains in the US and Asia overnight.
However, despite the positive start, dealer Jonathan Sudaria from Capital Spreads said that markets "aren't expected to make much headway as traders sit on the sidelines ahead of key US economic data but also today's European Union ambassadors meeting".
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.3% higher at 6,806 in early trading
Consumer confidence, house-price data, economic growth figures and a host of labour-market indicators will be in focus Stateside over the coming days, culminating with the all-important US non-farm payrolls report on Friday. Meanwhile, Wednesday will see the latest policy decision from the Federal Reserve.
Meanwhile, investors will also be keeping an eye on geopolitical tensions today with EU leaders set to approve fresh sanctions on Russia with measures likely to be imposed on banks and energy companies.
"Like the prior tit for tat exchange of token sanctions between the West and Russia, traders are concerned about how Russia will react and what they deem will be appropriate retaliatory action," Sudaria said.
Ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas is also expected to cap gains today as investors continue to watch developments closely after blasts in Gaza City and Eshkol yesterday. Over 1,000 Palestinians have now been killed as a result of the violence.
GKN, Next and Mondi provide a lift
GKN rose strongly this morning after saying that a good performance by its car driveshaft business fuelled 6% higher profits at the automotive and aerospace engineer in the first half to £296m. However, a strong pound saw sales fall 1%.
Analysts celebrated a confident outlook from high street giant Next which lifted its sales and profit guidance for the full year after a strong first half.
Packaging and paper group Mondi also said its bottom line is expected to beat forecasts this year, lifting the stock higher early on.
Meanwhile, precious metal producers Randgold and Fresnillo were also on the rise this morning as gold and silver prices gained.
Leading the fallers on the FTSE 100 was wealth manager St James's Place despite a seemingly strong first half as it hiked its interim dividend by 40% and posted record funds under management.
Emerging-markets bank Standard Chartered was in demand this morning after JPMorgan Cazenove upgraded the stock from 'neutral' to 'overweight'.
Oil major BP was volatile early on, but managed to register small gains. The company announced second-quarter profits 34% higher than the same period last year but said that further sanctions imposed on Russia "could have a material adverse impact" on its business and corporate relationships.
FTSE 100 - Risers
GKN (GKN) 362.20p +5.57%
Next (NXT) 6,685.00p +2.53%
Hammerson (HMSO) 610.00p +2.43%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,285.00p +2.22%
Kingfisher (KGF) 301.40p +1.89%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,080.00p +1.89%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,244.50p +1.80%
Fresnillo (FRES) 954.00p +1.49%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,641.00p +1.30%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,777.00p +1.14%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
St James's Place (STJ) 766.50p -2.97%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 429.00p -1.38%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,468.00p -0.88%
ITV (ITV) 204.40p -0.68%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,336.00p -0.60%
Royal Mail (RMG) 427.60p -0.56%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,121.00p -0.44%
BG Group (BG.) 1,207.50p -0.37%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,924.00p -0.36%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,318.50p -0.35%
FTSE 250 - Risers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 394.90p +2.31%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 585.00p +2.09%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 120.00p +2.04%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,019.00p +1.95%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 553.00p +1.94%
Elementis (ELM) 262.00p +1.79%
Greencore Group (GNC) 278.80p +1.57%
NMC Health (NMC) 462.00p +1.54%
Rotork (ROR) 2,824.00p +1.47%
Savills (SVS) 594.50p +1.45%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 196.10p -9.46%
Exova Group (EXO) 227.90p -5.04%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,033.00p -1.62%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 1,040.00p -1.52%
Brit (BRIT) 244.30p -1.49%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 109.70p -1.08%
Alent (ALNT) 350.00p -0.99%
Informa (INF) 485.90p -0.96%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 250.70p -0.91%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 237.10p -0.84%