- Housing and oil stocks provide a lift
- Focus on Fed ahead of non-farm payrolls
- Berkeley jumps as strong housing demand boosts H1 results
techMARK 2,650.07 +0.07%
FTSE 100 6,518.46 +0.31%
FTSE 250 15,166.21 +0.06%
The FTSE 100 rebounded slightly on Friday from an eight-week low, as bargain hunters stepped in ahead to some key economic data out from the States this afternoon.
Strong gains in the housing and oil sectors were providing a lift in the UK this morning.
London's benchmark index closed Thursday's session at 6,498.33, its lowest level since October 11th. Stocks have fallen for five straight days on the back of heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve will soon begin to pare its asset purchase programme amid signs of a stronger economic recovery.
In particular, data released during yesterday's session showed a sharp drop in jobless claims, an upwards revision to third-quarter US economic growth and a less-than-expected decline in factory orders.
"In recent weeks we have seen a string of good economic data from the US which could suggest we are edging closer to Fed tapering," said Lee Mumford, Financial Sales Trader at Spreadex.
Meanwhile, comments from regional Fed bank presidents continue to be closely watched ahead of the central bank's policy meeting on December 17-18th. Dennis Lockhart of the Atlanta Fed said on Thursday that "consideration" of tapering should be "on the table" at the Fed's meeting later this month.
The remarks come ahead of the official jobs report this afternoon, which will likely be a key factor in the Fed's decision. The data is expected to reveal a 183,000 increase in non-farm payrolls for November, below the 204,000 gain in October, though the unemployment rate is forecast to fall from 7.3% to 7.2%.
Berkeley jumps after first-half results
Berkeley Group's shares
surged after reporting a 19.2% rise in first-half profits of £169.2m in the first half, driven by strong demand in the housing sector.
Others in the housing sector were also making gains this morning, including Persimmon, Bovis Homes, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey.
Oil stocks were also providing a lift today after HSBC reportedly raised its forecast for Brent oil prices
for next year. Tullow, BP, BG and Shell were among the best performers. Shell was making headlines this morning after ditching plans to build a $20bn gas-to-liquids plant in the US, saying it was "not a viable option".
Telecoms group Vodafone rose after analysts at Berenberg upgraded their rating on the stock to 'buy' and lifted their target price from 233p to 265p.
Pizza delivery group Domino's fell sharply after announcing its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lance Batchelor is stepping down. Batchelor, who has been CEO since December 2011, is leaving to join an undisclosed private equity backed company in a non-competing sector.
Shire slumped after the Dublin-based drugmaker's Lifitegrast, a treatment for dry eye disease, met one goal in a study for eye dryness and missed another for inferior corneal staining.
Sector peer AstraZeneca also fell despite saying that the European Commission has granted marketing authorisation to its nasally administered four-strain flu vaccine Fluenz Tetra.
FTSE 100 - Risers
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,621.00p +2.47%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,180.00p +2.25%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,138.50p +2.03%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,173.00p +1.82%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 262.00p +1.63%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,045.00p +1.56%
BG Group (BG.) 1,228.50p +1.36%
BT Group (BT.A) 368.50p +1.07%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 228.25p +0.97%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 893.50p +0.85%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 101.40p -1.65%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,773.00p -1.28%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,483.00p -1.20%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,680.00p -1.00%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,313.00p -0.87%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,515.00p -0.87%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 303.45p -0.70%
BAE Systems (BA.) 414.90p -0.67%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 459.30p -0.58%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 361.20p -0.50%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,490.00p +9.11%
Rank Group (RNK) 139.90p +5.19%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,223.00p +3.47%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 829.50p +2.79%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 108.70p +2.55%
Perform Group (PER) 408.70p +2.17%
Bellway (BWY) 1,423.00p +1.93%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 768.00p +1.86%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 346.50p +1.79%
Pennon Group (PNN) 643.50p +1.50%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 481.20p -9.04%
Diploma (DPLM) 678.00p -2.16%
Computacenter (CCC) 632.50p -2.01%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 561.00p -1.92%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 211.50p -1.77%
Alent (ALNT) 344.00p -1.71%
Carpetright (CPR) 521.50p -1.60%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,507.00p -1.57%
esure Group (ESUR) 243.70p -1.54%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 139.70p -1.48%