- China trade surplus doubles as exports rise
- Japanese consumer confidence improves, GDP revised higher
- Rio gains on Credit Suisse comments
- Lloyds fall after pricing TSB IPO
techMARK 2,852.63 +0.04%
FTSE 100 6,872.71 +0.21%
FTSE 250 16,239.01 +0.04%
Yet another record close on Wall Street fed into a higher start for London stocks on Monday, with upbeat data from Asia giving sentiment a lift early on.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.2% higher at 6,873 this morning as the heavyweight mining sector provided a boost.
The index has not closed above this level since May 14th when it finished at a 14-year high of 6,878.49.
Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500
hit all-time highs on Friday after US non-farm payrolls increased by 217,000, taking employment back to its pre-recession peak.
The strong finish Stateside and a buoyant session for Asian stocks overnight "indicate that the rally still has some more legs in it", according to Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads.
"It's a reasonably quiet week on the economic calendar front so there's little for traders to get apprehensive about and play it cautious so we could see the bulls stampede," Sudaria said, adding that "the top is probably still some way off".
Data released this weekend showed that China's trade surplus doubled in May to $35.9bn, helped by a massive 7% year-on-year increase in exports, better than estimates. While import growth was still weak, analysts said that the figures could possible take some pressure off of authorities in Beijing to prop up economic activity.
Over in Japan, consumer confidence improved in May for the first time in 2014, while economic growth for the first quarter was revised higher. An increase in consumer confidence - albeit still at depressed levels - suggests that the negative impact from an increase in the national sales tax may not be as bad as feared.
Miners rise on Asian data
Mining stocks were among the best performers today as investors reacted to the solid data out from top metals consumer China. Fresnillo, Randgold and Antofagasta were all putting in decent gains early on.
Rio Tinto also rose after Credit Suisse reiterated an 'outperform' rating for the stock. The bank said that despite the record 30% valuation premium (on a price-to-earnings basis) that it trades at against Brazilian rival Vale, it still prefers the UK-listed miner and it is not the right time to sell.
Supermarket rivals Wm Morrison and Tesco were on the rise this morning as both stocks rebounded after some heavy falls last week.
Financials, however, were weak with Lloyds Banking Group leading the decline after confirming an offer price of 220p-290p for its 25% stake in TSB. At the mid-point of the price range, TSB's market capitalisation would be approximately £1.275bn, well below book value of £1.6bn.
Other financial stocks such as Hargreaves Lansdown, St James's Place, Aviva and Standard Life were all trading lower.
Support services company Carillion was in demand after its 50/50 joint venture with Lafarge Tarmac was selected as one of the contractors on the Midlands Highway Alliance framework.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 791.00p +2.00%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,425.00p +1.58%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 784.00p +1.49%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 195.80p +1.45%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 424.70p +1.38%
Tesco (TSCO) 294.45p +1.34%
Capita (CPI) 1,143.00p +1.15%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,912.50p +1.08%
Experian (EXPN) 1,061.00p +1.05%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 209.05p +0.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 78.90p -1.56%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,286.00p -1.00%
St James's Place (STJ) 820.00p -0.85%
TUI Travel (TT.) 407.00p -0.78%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,676.00p -0.65%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 459.60p -0.52%
Aviva (AV.) 531.50p -0.47%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,061.00p -0.47%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,554.00p -0.45%
Standard Life (SL.) 398.40p -0.42%
FTSE 250 - Risers
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 223.50p +3.57%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 342.20p +2.21%
Diploma (DPLM) 657.00p +2.02%
esure Group (ESUR) 262.40p +1.51%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 138.90p +1.39%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 204.50p +1.34%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 463.10p +1.33%
Carillion (CLLN) 359.50p +1.24%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 385.70p +1.21%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 93.90p +1.19%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 48.68p -1.85%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 319.70p -1.78%
Savills (SVS) 639.00p -1.31%
Playtech (PTEC) 672.50p -1.10%
Xaar (XAR) 786.00p -1.07%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 275.40p -1.04%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 180.80p -1.04%
Homeserve (HSV) 337.60p -1.00%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 107.00p -0.93%
Perpetual Income & Growth Inv Trust (PLI) 384.00p -0.90%