- China registers surprise trade deficit, CPI eases
- Japan GDP revised lower
- Mining stocks limit upside for FTSE
- Mondi upgraded to 'buy' by Citigroup
techMARK 2,863.34 +0.12%
FTSE 100 6,716.76 +0.06%
FTSE 250 16,578.93 +0.12%
UK markets opened broadly flat on Monday morning after a surprise trade deficit in China and downward revisions to growth estimates in Japan limited upside on the FTSE 100.
Mining stocks were capping gains on the resource-heavy Footsie, which was trading just 0.1% higher at 6,717 in early trading. This follows a 1.4% fall for the index last week.
Markets across Asia fell overnight after China's trade balance fell to a deficit of $22.98bn in February, compared with a revised surplus of $32.87bn in January and expectations for a surplus of $14.5bn.
This was China's first trade deficit in 11 months and comes after exports slumped at an annual rate of 18.1%, though analysts believe this largely reflects seasonal factors such as the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, during which many factories remained shut. Imports grew by a slightly stronger-than-forecast 10.1% during the month.
Other data also showed that the annual rate of Chinese consumer price inflation fell to a 13-month low of 2% in February, down from 2.5% the month before and below forecasts.
Over in Japan, revised government figures show that Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by just 0.7% on an annualised basis in the final three months of last year, down from the initial estimate of 1% growth.
Meanwhile, the current account deficit hit a record 1.5trn yen (around £8.7bn) in January, which comes ahead of a planned tax increase on sales next month - a move that had been expected to prompt higher spending in the lead up to it.
On a positive note closer to home, the British Chambers of Commerce revised its estimate for UK GDP growth to 2.8% for 2014, up from its prior forecast of 2.7%.
Mining stocks drop on China data
Miners fell sharply this morning as investors reacted to disappointing data from top metals consumer China. Antofagasta, Fresnillo and Anglo American were registering heavy falls early on, along with FTSE 100 BHP Billiton, Glencore Xstrata and Rio Tinto.
FTSE 250 resource stocks such as Kazakhmys, African Barrick Gold, Centamin, EVRAZ and Polymetal were also under the weather.
Paper and packaging group Mondi was among the best performers after Citigroup analysts upgraded the stock from 'neutral' to 'buy' and raised their target price from 1,110p to 1,260p, saying they see "another strong year ahead".
Tobacco giant British American was also benefitting after comments from Citigroup, which added the stock to its 'Focus List'.
Manufacturing company Senior jumped after confirming that it has entered into an agreement to buy Malaysian based UPECA Technologies for £75.5m. Investec also lifted its recommendation for the shares
from 'reduce' to 'hold'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,059.00p +3.22%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,109.00p +1.65%
Centrica (CNA) 329.30p +1.45%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,596.00p +1.40%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 82.15p +0.98%
Aviva (AV.) 513.50p +0.98%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 794.00p +0.89%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 2,028.00p +0.80%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 624.50p +0.79%
Kingfisher (KGF) 404.10p +0.75%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Antofagasta (ANTO) 848.00p -3.31%
Fresnillo (FRES) 905.00p -2.43%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,427.50p -2.39%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,808.50p -2.16%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 317.85p -2.15%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,141.50p -1.83%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 235.20p -1.45%
Experian (EXPN) 1,034.00p -1.15%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,389.00p -1.14%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 378.20p -0.86%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Senior (SNR) 299.80p +3.49%
Savills (SVS) 614.00p +2.59%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 843.00p +2.37%
Perform Group (PER) 288.10p +2.13%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 588.00p +1.99%
Pennon Group (PNN) 750.50p +1.97%
Genus (GNS) 1,173.00p +1.82%
Diploma (DPLM) 775.00p +1.71%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 379.50p +1.44%
Keller Group (KLR) 1,090.00p +1.40%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 280.30p -4.17%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 69.60p -3.67%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 288.90p -3.25%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 56.20p -3.02%
Evraz (EVR) 62.05p -2.51%
Polymetal International (POLY) 551.50p -2.39%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 139.00p -1.84%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 848.50p -1.62%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 474.50p -1.35%
Kentz Ltd. (KENZ) 749.00p -1.25%