- LSE leads financial stocks higher
- Dixons and Carphone announce 3.8bn-pound merger
- Data-heavy session ahead
- Japanese GDP surges in first quarter
techMARK 2,794.14 +0.04%
FTSE 100 6,886.04 +0.11%
FTSE 250 15,984.75 +0.06%
Strong gains from London Stock Exchange (LSE) and a merger between Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse gave UK stocks an initial lift on Thursday morning.
The FTSE 100, which closed at a fresh 14-year high of 6,878.49 on Wednesday, was trading 0.1% higher at 6,886 in early trading.
The index has not closed above this level since the last trading day of 1999 when it hit a record 6,930.20.
Investors were taking a positive approach ahead of what is set to be a data-heavy session for global financial markets, with consumer price inflation figures in the Eurozone and US likely to gain the most interest.
Also in the States, markets will be on the look-out for jobless claims data, a reading of regional manufacturing in New York and nationwide industrial production data.
Economic growth was also in focus today after it was revealed that annualised gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Japan surged to 5.9% in the first quarter, up from just 0.3% growth in the fourth quarter of 2013 and well ahead of forecasts.
The pick-up in growth was most likely due to a consumer buying spree ahead of a sales-tax hike which began in April, thus "it is likely that we will see subsequent weakness in the second quarter", according to Joshua Mahony, Research Analyst at Alpari.
LSE leads financials higher; Dixons Carphone merger
LSE rose strongly after it reported a 10% rise in annual revenue to £1.1bn helped by the acquisition of LCH.Clearnet business. While profits fell on the back of higher expenses due to the purchase, the company said it has identified significant cost savings as part of the integration.
Insurer Aviva was broadly flat after a "reassuring calm and stable" first quarter, with the value of new business growing solidly despite weather and regulatory developments.
Others in the financial sector such as Schroders and Hargreaves Lansdown were also making gains this morning.
However, Old Mutual was bucking the trend after first-quarter gross sales growth was limited to just 12% due to adverse currency movements. Growth would have been 24% at constant currencies.
The retail sector was broadly higher this morning after Dixons and Carphone Warehouse finally announced a £3.8bn 'merger of equals' after months of talks. The new company, to be named Dixons Carphone plc, is hoped to create a "world-class British retailer for the new digital age".
Oil explorer Tullow Oil underwhelmed with a positive update on drilling at its joint-owned Blocks 10BB and 13T in northern Kenya with Africa Oil.
Meanwhile, real estate investment trust Land Securities fell despite saying it is well positioned in a strong property market, amid robust valuation gains and an almost fully-let retail portfolio.
Telecoms giant Vodafone was hit by a downgrade from Goldman Sachs to 'neutral', while the US bank cut its target price for the stock from 270p to 240p.
FTSE 100 - Risers
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,867.00p +3.66%
Schroders (SDR) 2,708.00p +3.48%
Fresnillo (FRES) 853.50p +2.03%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 777.00p +1.90%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,255.00p +1.78%
IMI (IMI) 1,596.00p +1.20%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 335.40p +1.08%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,994.00p +0.98%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 198.10p +0.92%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,638.50p +0.92%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 865.50p -2.04%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,086.00p -1.72%
Old Mutual (OML) 206.70p -1.29%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,621.00p -1.25%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 219.55p -1.15%
Pearson (PSON) 1,146.00p -1.12%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 827.50p -0.90%
ITV (ITV) 177.60p -0.84%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,022.00p -0.78%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,689.00p -0.76%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Infinis Energy (INFI) 209.50p +3.66%
NMC Health (NMC) 486.20p +2.92%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,688.00p +2.55%
Xaar (XAR) 785.50p +2.41%
Evraz (EVR) 107.50p +2.38%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 319.90p +2.37%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,740.00p +2.29%
Marston's (MARS) 153.30p +2.20%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 162.00p +2.08%
IP Group (IPO) 181.80p +2.02%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 170.00p -4.82%
Genus (GNS) 1,055.00p -3.65%
Countrywide (CWD) 548.50p -3.18%
Alent (ALNT) 311.00p -2.78%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 962.50p -2.28%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 211.90p -1.67%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 50.10p -1.57%
Keller Group (KLR) 960.00p -1.34%
Informa (INF) 487.40p -1.28%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 341.30p -1.19%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Optos (OPTS) 200.00p +18.87%
Kofax Limited (DI) (KFX) 401.00p +1.26%
Innovation Group (TIG) 31.00p +0.81%
Vectura Group (VEC) 139.75p +0.72%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 17.75p +0.71%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 915.50p +0.60%
Puricore (PURI) 33.12p +0.38%
Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 188.19 +0.01%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Anite (AIE) 93.00p -1.59%
Skyepharma (SKP) 242.50p -1.02%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 233.25p -0.74%
SDL (SDL) 314.75p -0.24%
Dialight (DIA) 885.00p -0.11%
Ricardo (RCDO) 692.50p -0.07%