- Eurozone CPI data in focus ahead of ECB meeting
- US jobs report to be closely watched
- Jefferies lifts Ashtead, ITV and BSkyB early on
- Dunelm falls after Q2 sales update
techMARK 2,791.39 -0.03%
FTSE 100 6,728.37 -0.04%
FTSE 250 16,030.92 -0.11%
UK markets opened flat once again on Tuesday morning as investors adopted a cautious approach ahead of some key inflation figures from the Eurozone.
Eurozone consumer price index (CPI) data will be under scrutiny today ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) policy decision later this week. The consensus estimate is for the annual rate of inflation in December to be unchanged from 0.9% in November, after having picked up from a four-year low of 0.7% in October.
However, analysts at Danske Bank said they expect a fall in the CPI back down to 0.7%. "Although the expected decline puts pressure on the ECB, we do not expect more easing at the meeting on Thursday," they added.
The FTSE 100 was trading little changed for a second straight day, down just 0.04% at 6,728.37. The index has traded within a narrow range over the last week or so, treading water just above the 6,700 level as volumes begin to pick up after a relatively quiet festive season.
After the absence of any major macro news over Christmas, the economic data schedule has ramped up this week, with figures yesterday showing that activity in the global services sector - whilst still growing - had slowed slightly in December. This followed some disappointing manufacturing purchasing managers' indices from several nations last week.
In the coming days, central bank meetings in the UK and Europe, the minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting and the all-important US jobs report are likely to grab the most attention.
Regarding for the US labour-market figures, Alex Conroy, Financial Trader at Spreadex, said: "Investors appear cautious ahead of the upcoming non-farm employment data due to be released on Friday, which could generate huge volatility if it fails to support the decision to start tapering."
Ashtead, ITV, BSkyB up on Jefferies comments
Construction equipment rental firm Ashtead was a high riser today after Jefferies upped its target price for the stock, saying it sees upside risk to estimates, citing "strong [...] trading momentum" and a "supportive 2014 macro outlook".
Media groups ITV and BSkyB were also making gains after comments from Jefferies as it upgraded the stocks to 'buy' and 'hold', respectively.
Supermarket chain Sainsbury continues to trade lower ahead of its Christmas sales update later this week. Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating for the shares
to 'underperform' this morning. Rival retailer Morrison was also in the red.
Severn Trent, meanwhile, was hit by a downgrade by JPMorgan Cazenove to 'underweight'.
UK homeware retailer Dunelm was a heavy faller early on despite returning to like-for-like (LFL) sales growth in the second quarter after a tough start to the year. Nevertheless, the improvement wasn't enough to stop LFL sales for the first half falling by 0.9%.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 802.50p +1.58%
William Hill (WMH) 409.50p +1.21%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 844.50p +1.02%
Standard Life (SL.) 363.20p +0.86%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 80.75p +0.80%
Old Mutual (OML) 191.30p +0.79%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 746.00p +0.74%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 494.60p +0.73%
Next (NXT) 6,215.00p +0.73%
ITV (ITV) 199.10p +0.71%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 251.70p -1.79%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 361.20p -1.79%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 96.20p -1.74%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,675.00p -1.70%
Fresnillo (FRES) 723.50p -1.63%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,214.00p -1.59%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,482.00p -1.53%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,472.00p -1.27%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,262.00p -1.02%
Centrica (CNA) 339.00p -1.02%
FTSE 250 - Risers
KCOM Group (KCOM) 98.30p +1.71%
Cobham (COB) 275.60p +1.44%
Hays (HAS) 136.20p +1.19%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,320.00p +1.18%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 19.95p +1.01%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 56.85p +0.98%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 365.00p +0.97%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 600.50p +0.92%
UBM (UBM) 669.50p +0.90%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 653.50p +0.85%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 918.50p -6.18%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 121.30p -2.96%
888 Holdings (888) 165.60p -2.42%
Evraz (EVR) 108.00p -2.26%
Debenhams (DEB) 75.60p -2.14%
Rank Group (RNK) 141.00p -1.81%
Polymetal International (POLY) 554.50p -1.77%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,160.00p -1.77%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 180.90p -1.58%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 199.10p -1.53%