- Chinese stimulus hopes increase after Xi comments
- Ukraine in focus after regional referenda
- BSkyB in talks with Fox over German, Italian assets
techMARK 2,785.14 +0.10%
FTSE 100 6,828.98 +0.21%
FTSE 250 15,940.81 +0.35%
UK stocks edged higher on Monday morning despite heightened tensions in Ukraine, as miners gained on hopes over potential new stimulus measures in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country must adapt to a "new normal" of slower growth. However, he added that the authorities must avoid risks and adopt "timely countermeasures to reduce potential negative effects", Xinhua reported.
Asian markets were mixed overnight on the whole but stocks in Hong Kong raced ahead "on speculation of market reforms (relax limits on foreign investment, expand quotas on capital flows) which could support equities as the country adapts to the new normal slower growth", said Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.2% higher at 6,829 in early trading this morning.
Investors were keeping a close eyes on developments in Eastern Europe today after pro-Russian activists in the Donetsk region of Ukraine claimed a overwhelming victory in the controversial 'self-rule' referendum.
Despite reports of chaotic scenes at polling stations with no booths and no electoral registers, the separatists said that 89% of the public voted in favour of endorsing Donetsk's declaration of self-rule. Another vote in the region of Luhansk was also held, the results of which are expected to show a similar result.
Ukrainian officials have labelled the polls as a "criminal farce" set up by Russia, while leaders in the EU and US have also claimed that the votes were unconstitutional.
Miners rise, BSkyB drops on Fox talks
Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Antofagasta led the mining sector higher on hopes that stimulus efforts in China will give demand for basic resources a boost.
Anglo American, Glencore Xstrata and Fresnillo were also performing well.
BSkyB fell after saying that it is in talks with 21st Century Fox regarding the potential acquisition of the latter's pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. "BSkyB believes at the right value, this combination would have the potential to create a world-class multinational pay TV group."
AstraZeneca rose after the Phase III Amagine-1 study evaluating its brodalumab treatment in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis met all primary and secondary endpoints.
Annuities provider Just Retirement impressed after individually underwritten annuity sales jumped by 34% in the third quarter despite recent pension reforms. The company did however say that sales were "at around half of pre-Budget levels".
Capita, the business process outsourcing firm, underwhelmed despite saying that it made a "strong start" to 2014 with £1.1bn-worth of major new sales wins.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,272.50p +2.63%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,932.00p +1.87%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 782.00p +1.69%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,472.00p +1.59%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,626.50p +1.40%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 329.65p +1.27%
Sage Group (SGE) 401.50p +1.26%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 896.00p +1.13%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 863.50p +1.11%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 602.60p +1.11%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 869.50p -2.30%
ITV (ITV) 186.50p -1.32%
BT Group (BT.A) 377.50p -1.31%
Barclays (BARC) 257.25p -1.11%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,435.00p -1.03%
Pearson (PSON) 1,126.00p -0.97%
Tesco (TSCO) 294.40p -0.83%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 196.20p -0.71%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 287.70p -0.69%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 225.20p -0.68%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 164.40p +4.51%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 941.50p +3.80%
Perform Group (PER) 262.90p +3.79%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,389.00p +3.64%
Polymetal International (POLY) 570.50p +3.26%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 1,081.00p +2.56%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 364.90p +2.50%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 1,298.00p +2.45%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 125.60p +2.11%
Lonmin (LMI) 288.60p +2.09%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Supergroup (SGP) 1,098.00p -2.40%
Evraz (EVR) 100.60p -2.04%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 204.90p -1.77%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,157.00p -1.70%
Debenhams (DEB) 80.60p -1.23%
Man Group (EMG) 96.50p -1.13%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 298.10p -1.09%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 208.00p -1.00%
Synthomer (SYNT) 256.80p -0.85%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 181.80p -0.76%