- MPC, FOMC minutes reveal hawkish stance
- Chinese manufacturing data weakens
- Long list of economic figures due out
techMARK 2,804.30 +0.27%
FTSE 100 6,763.16 +0.11%
FTSE 250 15,756.32 +0.05%
UK stocks saw a subdued start on Thursday as investors continued to digest rate-hike speculation following minutes of the latest Bank of England and Federal Reserve meetings.
Meanwhile, disappointing manufacturing figures from China were also limiting upside in London early on, ahead of what is set to be a busy day for economic data.
The FTSE 100 opened more or less flat, up just 0.1% at 6,763.
The index finished in the red for the first time in six days on Wednesday after minutes from the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting showed that policymakers were divided over an interest-rate rise for the first time in three years.
After falling inflation figures earlier in the week led many economists to push back their predictions for the first rate hike, the split vote - two MPC members campaigned for a 25 basis points increase in the Bank Rate - has now clouded the outlook.
As for the Fed, minutes of last month's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting revealed a more-hawkish-than-expected stance among policymakers. Akin to the MPC, minutes showed that members were becoming increasingly divided over policy, with a growing minority calling for a "relatively prompt move toward reducing policy accommodation".
Chinese data disappoints
The HSBC China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropped from 51.7 to 50.3 in August. The fall ended a streak of four straight monthly improvements in activity growth and disappointed analysts looking for a slight dip to 51.5.
A long list of global economic data are due out during Thursday's session, including manufacturing PMIs across the Eurozone, retail sales and public borrowing figures in the UK and labour-market and housing indicators in the States.
Meanwhile, the Jackson Hole Symposium of central bankers is due to kick off later on with comments from policymakers around the world likely to be closely watched.
Mining stocks fall
Weak data from top metals consumer China dampened the demand for mining stocks on Wednesday with Fresnillo, Randgold, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Antofagasta trading lower.
Declining metal prices were also behind the fall in the resources sector as the dollar
soared after the FOMC minutes, making greenback-denominated commodities less attractive.
Kazakh metal miner Kazakhmys hailed progress with a shake-up designed to focus it on the lucrative copper market, but shares
fell after it said 2014 gold production was likely to fall short of hopes.
Oil explorer Premier Oil gained after saying it had a "strong six months" with better-than-expected production leading to higher revenues and cash flows. However, it saw a sharp reduction in pre-tax profit in the first half due to impairments.
FTSE 100 - Risers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,342.00p +1.33%
Schroders (SDR) 2,356.00p +1.12%
CRH (CRH) 1,385.00p +0.87%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,644.00p +0.80%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,055.00p +0.76%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,427.50p +0.71%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,459.00p +0.69%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 944.50p +0.69%
Royal Mail (RMG) 448.40p +0.61%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,146.00p +0.61%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 957.50p -1.54%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,938.00p -1.18%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,580.50p -0.85%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,428.50p -0.85%
ITV (ITV) 209.40p -0.76%
Kingfisher (KGF) 309.90p -0.67%
Mondi (MNDI) 997.50p -0.65%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 434.10p -0.55%
Tesco (TSCO) 245.55p -0.55%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,970.00p -0.45%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,950.00p +3.12%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 648.50p +2.94%
Xaar (XAR) 561.00p +2.56%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,369.00p +2.47%
Polymetal International (POLY) 538.50p +1.99%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 369.00p +1.77%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 382.70p +1.73%
CSR (CSR) 569.00p +1.61%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 591.00p +1.55%
Unite Group (UTG) 430.90p +1.36%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 224.10p -2.44%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 121.30p -2.18%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 147.00p -2.07%
ITE Group (ITE) 192.30p -1.38%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,005.00p -1.37%
Henderson Group (HGG) 226.80p -1.35%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 188.20p -1.31%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 706.50p -1.19%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,492.00p -1.07%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 305.30p -1.04%