- FTSE 100 pulls back from two-month high
- Sainsbury, Mothercare, Majestic fall after updates
- Risk events on tap, traders stay cautious
techMARK 2,781.79 -0.27%
FTSE 100 6,735.41 -0.30%
FTSE 250 16,033.22 -0.22%
UK stocks pulled back on Wednesday morning ahead of a number of key 'risk events' over the next few days that could spark market volatility.
Updates from British retail groups Sainsbury, Mothercare and Majestic Wine managed to disappoint investors this morning.
The FTSE 100, which hit a two-month high on Tuesday, was trading 0.3% lower at around 6,735 this morning.
Investors cautious ahead of risk events
It looks set to be a busy day as far as economic data is concerned, with Eurozone retail sales and Eurozone employment data due out this morning, followed by the ADP employment report in the States this afternoon.
The minutes of December's Federal Reserve policy meeting will also be released after the close, which will shed more light on the central bank's decision to begin scaling back stimulus last month.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, policy meetings at the Bank of England and European Central Bank will take place, with the latter likely to be closely watched after the surprise dip in Eurozone inflation revealed yesterday.
Meanwhile, the focus of Friday's session will undoubtedly be the US official non-farm payrolls figures, which could determine whether the Fed continues to taper quantitative easing at its next meeting.
Retailers in focus: Sainsbury, Mothercare, Majestic
After an initial rise, Sainsbury sank after reporting flat like-for-like (LFL) sales in the third quarter as customers held back on spending ahead of the Christmas period. While the company recorded its "best Christmas ever", a challenging conditions in October and November held back growth.
Rival supermarket Tesco, which is due to update the market tomorrow on its performance over the festive season, was also trading in the red this morning along with Morrison.
The share price of Mothercare plummeted by as much as a third this morning after the baby products retailer said that full-year profit would come in below market forecasts as it battled against Christmas price discounting and weak trading conditions.
Wine retailer Majestic was also lower despite saying that UK store sales for the 10 weeks to January 6th were up 5.9% year-on-year as it opened its 200th store during the period.
Burberry was in the red ahead of its third-quarter update next week. Nomura trimmed its forecasts for the high-end luxury brand today, saying that currency headwinds are likely to weigh on second-half results.
Banking stocks were performing well this morning, extending gains made yesterday when data showed that funding conditions had improved in the fourth quarter of 2013. Barclays, Lloyds and RBS were making gains early on.
British Land was trading in the red after going ex-dividend, along with Dairy Crest and WH Smith.
FTSE 100 - Risers
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 100.30p +2.61%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 435.50p +1.70%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 354.90p +1.28%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 312.35p +1.13%
Barclays (BARC) 284.05p +1.10%
Fresnillo (FRES) 711.50p +0.85%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 1,064.00p +0.85%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 870.50p +0.64%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,615.00p +0.62%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 83.01p +0.61%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 770.00p -3.81%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,094.50p -2.86%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,268.00p -1.99%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 363.10p -1.57%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,412.00p -1.27%
Centrica (CNA) 333.10p -1.27%
National Grid (NG.) 774.00p -1.15%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,648.00p -1.14%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 250.90p -1.06%
British Land Co (BLND) 620.00p -0.96%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,195.00p +3.34%
Perform Group (PER) 229.00p +2.92%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 192.90p +2.39%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 202.20p +2.02%
Pace (PIC) 339.40p +2.01%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 72.50p +1.54%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,883.00p +1.35%
Marston's (MARS) 147.10p +1.31%
Interserve (IRV) 656.50p +1.31%
Synthomer (SYNT) 265.10p +1.30%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
International Personal Finance (IPF) 497.60p -2.43%
esure Group (ESUR) 254.00p -2.08%
Rightmove (RMV) 2,750.00p -1.86%
Debenhams (DEB) 75.45p -1.82%
De La Rue (DLAR) 868.00p -1.64%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,637.00p -1.53%
Henderson Group (HGG) 229.00p -1.46%
Murray International Trust (MYI) 1,019.00p -1.45%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,503.19p -1.43%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 172.50p -1.43%