- Stocks extend gains after ECB bond-buying plan
- ECB buys Europe some time, says analyst
- Glencore lower ahead of shareholder vote
UK stocks were flat on Friday morning in spite of an impressive performance in the mining sector, as markets were relatively subdued following some massive gains the day before on the back of the European Central Bank's (ECB's) plan to buy sovereign debt.
Global stock markets soared after ECB President Mario Draghi announced that the bank would embark on its bond-buying plan: the Footsie jumped over 2%; the CAC in Paris and DAX in Frankfurt both rose 3%; while Wall Street benchmarks surged to their best levels in years.
"Yesterday's actions by the ECB to commit to unlimited short-dated bond buying, in the face of Bundesbank dissent look like they could well buy Europe some additional time to sort out the problems that have plagued the single currency for the last three years," said market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.
Just one month after promising to do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro", Draghi announced that the ECB would embark on an unlimited bond purchase programme of notes on the secondary market with maturities between one and three years.
They would be 'sterilised' so as to avoid the inflationary pressures which excessive growth in the money supply is thought to engender in the long-run. The purchases would also be tired to "strict and effective conditionality".
Hewson said: "In effect the ECB has thrown the ball back to the politicians by saying the help is there if you want it, but there is a price to pay for such help. It is now up to the same politicians not to waste it, but given previous experience of European politicians the omens aren't promising."
The focus on today's markets will be on industrial production figures and the producer price index in the UK, and unemployment data and non-farm payrolls in the US later on.
Miners gain though Glencore bucks the trend
Mining stocks continued to rejoice the ECB's plans this morning with Evraz, Vedanta, Kazakhmys, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta all registering impressive gains.
Glencore announced this morning its shareholder meeting to discuss the merger with Xstrata has been adjourned. "Glencore has requested to temporarily suspend Glencore's shares
on the London Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Glencore is considering its options and will update the market in due course," the company said.
According to the Financial Times, Glencore Chairman Simon Murray told shareholders in Switzerland that there had been "overnight developments". The paper says that Glencore has until 11:00 local time (in Zug) to prompt Xstrata to also adjourn its shareholder meeting.
Opposition to the merger has increased over the last few months as some Xstrata shareholders demand a better exchange ratio. However, the Lex column in the Financial Times said this morning: "As investors prepare to blow a raspberry at Glencore, they must accept that a better offer may be a long time coming. If it comes at all."
Banking group Barclays was higher after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to 'buy' this morning. Legal & General fell after Credit Suisse downgraded its rating to 'neutral'.
Support services and construction group Interserve was in demand after being named as the preferred bidder to provide a range of services to National Health Service (NHS) trusts in the Midlands. The contract has a potential value of up to £300m and will run for seven years.
Meanwhile, defence contractor Cobham also rose after being awarded a five-year contract to supply on-board inert gas generating system nitrogen inert units for AH-64 Apache helicopters used by the US arm. The "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" contract is worth around $15m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 246.60p +8.78%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,026.50p +4.85%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 623.00p +4.01%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 37.60p +3.88%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 961.00p +3.56%
Barclays (BARC) 199.80p +3.50%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 240.90p +3.17%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,932.50p +3.04%
ICAP (IAP) 333.70p +2.77%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,188.00p +2.68%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Glencore International (GLEN) 381.35p -2.80%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,159.50p -2.39%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,295.00p -2.09%
Rexam (REX) 419.60p -1.18%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,810.00p -1.11%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,422.00p -1.08%
BP (BP.) 426.95p -1.04%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 2,917.00p -0.80%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,293.00p -0.78%
SSE (SSE) 1,365.00p -0.73%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 166.90p +7.89%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 66.95p +4.61%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 1,215.00p +3.67%
Henderson Group (HGG) 108.50p +3.43%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 136.70p +3.17%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 103.00p +3.15%
Interserve (IRV) 369.50p +2.67%
Laird (LRD) 243.40p +2.66%
Bodycote (BOY) 375.30p +2.51%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 73.50p +2.37%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 285.40p -2.93%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.34 -1.73%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,349.00p -1.53%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 142.80p -1.38%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 167.30p -1.30%
Redrow (RDW) 149.40p -0.99%
Bellway (BWY) 924.50p -0.91%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 327.10p -0.88%
Savills (SVS) 401.50p -0.82%
Gem Diamonds Ltd. (DI) (GEMD) 169.50p -0.76%