- UK market at highest since December 2nd
- S&P 500
hits 39th record close this year
- Taper speculation picks up ahead of Fed meeting
- Carney calls for sustained low rates
techMARK 2,684.69 +0.19%
FTSE 100 6,567.32 +0.12%
FTSE 250 15,424.59 +0.21%
UK markets opened with small gains on Tuesday morning, rising to levels not seen in over a week, despite increased speculation surrounding a withdrawal of US monetary stimulus.
This follows another all-time high for the S&P 500 on Wall Street on Monday night as hawkish comments from a number of Federal Reserve members failed to prevent the benchmark index hitting its 39th record close this year.
St Louis Fed President James Bullard said yesterday that recent improvements in the labour market could warrant a small taper of asset purchases at the central bank's policy meeting on December 17-18th. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Lacker from the Richmond Fed said a taper will be on the table at this month's meeting, and Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher called for a taper at the "earliest opportunity".
Nevertheless, the FTSE 100 edged higher in early trading, up 0.12% at 6,567.32; it has not closed above this level since December 2nd.
"Equities are enjoying strength once again, recovering nearly all of the losses seen since selling off on November 29th when investors panicked that the global economy would not be able to cope with US tapering," said Max Cohen, Financial Sales Trader at Spreadex.
"For bullish market participants who have managed to stay calm and ride out this recent bumps, the likely hood of further gains now seems more realistic. We keep being reminded that traditionally, December is an exceptionally strong month for equities and many opportunistic investors will still be banking on a Santa rally."
However, capping gains this morning was mixed data from China as a pick-up in retail sales growth in November came alongside a slowdown in industrial output and fixed-asset investments.
Nearer to home, UK industrial and manufacturing production data will be released today, along with the trade balance and the NIESR economic growth forecast for the three months to November.
Comments from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney were in focus today after he said that the UK economy needs sustained low interest rates to boost growth. He said it would be a mistake "to rush to a more extreme response".
Lloyds sells St James's Place stake
Lloyds was higher on the news that it has offloaded its remaining stake in wealth management group St James's Place, as it continues its reduction of 'non-core' assets. The bank raised gross proceeds of £680m from placing its remaining 21% interest in SJP, realising a gain on sale of around £105m.
Other financial stocks such as Prudential, Hargreaves Lansdown and RBS were also in demand this morning.
TUI Travel was in the red despite reporting record annual profits as margins sizzled during the peak summer period, particularly in the UK. Profit before tax soared 21% to £473m on revenue up 4% to £15.05bn in the year to September 30th.
Precious metals miner Fresnillo fell after it lowered its annual gold production forecast by 8.4% to 425,900 ounces.
Sector peer Antofagasta gained after a Credit Suisse upgrade to 'neutral', while Kazakhmys was lower after the same bank reduced its rating to 'underperform'.
Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn, Beefeater and Costa chains, fell despite saying it is on track to deliver full-year results in line with expectations following a strong third quarter.
Investors at wireless technology firm CSR celebrated the company's decision to discontinue investment in its camera-on-a-chip (COACH) platform due to "weakness in the digital still camera market". The firm said it would be taking an impairment charge of $90m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,412.00p +2.47%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,113.00p +1.98%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 265.30p +1.92%
Prudential (PRU) 1,284.00p +1.42%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,241.00p +1.06%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 79.00p +1.02%
ITV (ITV) 185.40p +0.98%
Tesco (TSCO) 336.90p +0.97%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 101.40p +0.90%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,090.50p +0.87%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,297.50p -1.26%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 811.50p -1.22%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,828.00p -0.87%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,885.00p -0.79%
TUI Travel (TT.) 381.00p -0.78%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,500.00p -0.71%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,270.50p -0.61%
Fresnillo (FRES) 738.00p -0.54%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 942.50p -0.53%
Standard Life (SL.) 339.40p -0.53%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 550.00p +7.84%
Alent (ALNT) 372.10p +4.94%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 19.82p +4.48%
Victrex (VCT) 1,612.00p +3.00%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 729.00p +2.17%
Synergy Health (SYR) 1,036.00p +2.07%
UBM (UBM) 680.00p +1.72%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 159.70p +1.72%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,194.00p +1.72%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 687.50p +1.55%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Essar Energy (ESSR) 71.60p -2.25%
NMC Health (NMC) 400.00p -1.96%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 105.00p -1.96%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 209.40p -1.83%
esure Group (ESUR) 245.50p -1.80%
IP Group (IPO) 165.00p -1.79%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,001.00p -1.77%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,064.00p -1.66%
TR Property Inv Trust (TRY) 219.00p -1.44%
Hellermanntyton Group (HTY) 295.00p -1.27%