- IPF plummets after news of Polish fine
- Shoppers hit the streets for Boxing Day sales
- US jobless claims drop by 42,000
techMARK 2,776.01 +0.26%
FTSE 100 6,724.97 +0.46%
FTSE 250 15,801.26 +0.12%
UK markets headed higher on Friday morning, reopening strongly after the Christmas holidays, as investors reacted to upbeat news on retail sales and US jobless claims.
While company news was thin on the ground this morning, home credit firm International Personal Finance (IPF) was a heavy faller, losing over a quarter of its value, after the news of a fine in Poland.
Retailers were also in focus after the news of higher spending on Boxing Day as customers took advantage of the sales on the High Street.
Some £2.22bn is estimated to have been spent in stores yesterday, up 5.7% year-on-year, according to the Centre for Retail Research, while online spend was up 15% at a new record of £540m. Analysts are also estimating that spending on Friday could be even higher.
Meanwhile, data showing a sharp decline in jobless claims last week sparked solid gains on Wall Street on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500
again hitting fresh all-time highs.
According to the Labor Department, weekly initial jobless claims in the States dropped by 42,000 to 338,000 in the week ended December 21st. While seasonal factors make it hard to predict applications for unemployment benefits, analysts on the whole had expected a higher figure of 345,000.
IPF plummets after fine
IPF was a big mover this morning as investors digested the news on Tuesday of a £2.4m fine relating to "a collective infringement of consumer interests" in Poland. The company, which is planning to appeal the decision, said would be a "number of months" before a final ruling is received.
IPF released a statement today saying that it would host a conference call to provide further context on the fine and its response.
Department store chain Debenhams was making gains despite rumours that its Finance Director Simon Herrick could be leaving the company amid growing criticism of his recent performance.
Other retailers on the High Street were mostly higher this morning as investors react to Boxing Data sales figures. Marks & Spencer, Next and Ted Baker were all advancing early on.
Supermarket peers Tesco, Morrison and Sainsbury were also putting in decent performances this morning.
Steel group EVRAZ rose strongly after disposing of a number of iron ore assets and utilities in Russia as it continues to "optimise" its Evrazruda portfolio.
Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca was in the red despite settling arbitration proceedings with Shionogi & Co through which it will reduce royalty rates to the Japanese firm related to its cholesterol treatment Crestor.
BAE Systems continued to rise strongly in the UK after it on Monday won a $1bn deal to upgrade a number of South Korean fighter jets.
FTSE 100 - Risers
BAE Systems (BA.) 440.00p +1.99%
Fresnillo (FRES) 720.50p +1.55%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 817.00p +1.49%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 336.90p +1.41%
Carnival (CCL) 2,489.00p +1.38%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 849.50p +1.37%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,713.00p +1.36%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 267.30p +1.33%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,291.50p +1.25%
Barclays (BARC) 268.75p +1.24%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Persimmon (PSN) 1,201.00p -1.48%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 956.50p -0.57%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 91.95p -0.54%
Old Mutual (OML) 192.00p -0.41%
ITV (ITV) 192.20p -0.41%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,601.50p -0.29%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,225.00p -0.28%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,791.00p -0.23%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 725.00p -0.21%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,706.00p -0.18%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 20.50p +5.13%
Polymetal International (POLY) 549.00p +3.58%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 180.80p +2.73%
Synthomer (SYNT) 251.40p +2.61%
Lonmin (LMI) 300.80p +2.56%
Fenner (FENR) 464.00p +2.52%
Evraz (EVR) 103.40p +2.48%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 71.75p +2.35%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 318.00p +2.25%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,092.00p +2.25%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
International Personal Finance (IPF) 397.00p -26.48%
Provident Financial (PFG) 1,607.00p -1.89%
Alent (ALNT) 350.80p -1.85%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,410.00p -1.72%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 329.30p -1.70%
Countrywide (CWD) 554.50p -1.68%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,592.00p -1.67%
Redrow (RDW) 303.00p -1.62%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,163.00p -1.50%
ITE Group (ITE) 304.90p -1.42%