- Stocks pause at highest since March 6th
- FOMC meeting, economic data in focus today
- Heritage Oil receives takeover offer
- Shell, Tullow and Next rise after updates
techMARK 2,781.52 -0.35%
FTSE 100 6,774.00 +0.06%
FTSE 250 15,872.51 -0.15%
UK stocks opened broadly flat on Wednesday morning after reaching an eight-week high the previous session, as investors adopted a cautious approach amid a raft of corporate earnings.
Markets were also looking ahead to a busy day on the macro front with a host of economic data scheduled and the Federal Reserve's policy decision due out this evening.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.1% higher at 6,774 in early trading after closing at 6,769.91 on Tuesday afternoon, its highest finish since March 6th.
"Ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting it appears that risk on sentiment will alternate with risk off mood possible keeping the prices in check," said analysts at Capital Spreads this morning.
The FOMC begun the two-day policy meeting yesterday and is widely expected to continue tapering its asset purchase programme by $10bn each meeting. This will bring the monthly stock of bond buying down from $55bn to $45bn.
Inflation figures from the Eurozone will be in focus this morning, while mortgage application and the ADP employment report will be closely watched in the States this afternoon, as well as a reading of US economic growth for the first quarter.
Heritage Oil jumps after takeover offer
Heritage Oil shares
surged this morning after Energy Investments Global offer 320p a share to take over the company, some 25% above yesterday's closing price. The offer values the company at £924m. Heritage also announced today that profits more than doubled in 2013.
Oil major Royal Dutch Shell rose strongly despite saying that first-quarter underlying earnings fell by 3%, which exclude £2.9bn of impairments in its Downstream division.
Sector peer Tullow also gained after saying it is on track to meet its 2014 production guidance following a good performance since the start of the year.
High street retail giant Next rose after lifting its guidance for sales and profits this year after a strong performance in the first quarter. The company also announced that it would pay a special dividend and raise the limit of its share buyback.
Rolls-Royce, the power systems group, was also higher after confirming media speculation that it is in talks with German engineer Siemens about the possible sale of its energy gas turbine and compressor division.
Heading the other way was insurer Standard Life after underwhelming with a 1.5% rise in assets under administration in the first quarter.
Sector peer Admiral fell after going ex-dividend, along with others including ITV, Croda, Cobham, G4S, Ferrexpo, Tesco, Reed Elsevier, Travis Perkins and Weir.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,534.00p +4.24%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,366.50p +3.79%
Capita (CPI) 1,081.00p +2.46%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,042.00p +2.06%
BG Group (BG.) 1,201.50p +1.78%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,318.00p +1.69%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 790.50p +1.22%
WPP (WPP) 1,251.00p +1.21%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 875.00p +1.10%
Next (NXT) 6,555.00p +1.08%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tesco (TSCO) 292.65p -3.51%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 853.50p -3.34%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,395.00p -3.26%
Standard Life (SL.) 374.00p -3.11%
ITV (ITV) 178.70p -2.72%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,655.00p -2.71%
William Hill (WMH) 338.50p -2.51%
G4S (GFS) 232.40p -1.90%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,168.00p -1.60%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,639.00p -1.44%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 312.80p +22.38%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,049.00p +4.81%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 261.00p +3.90%
Afren (AFR) 158.80p +3.59%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 573.50p +2.50%
Soco International (SIA) 428.00p +2.27%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 183.90p +2.05%
Henderson Group (HGG) 249.20p +2.05%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 1,073.00p +1.80%
Redrow (RDW) 290.00p +1.75%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
CSR (CSR) 609.50p -4.99%
Elementis (ELM) 276.60p -3.15%
UBM (UBM) 654.00p -2.75%
Cobham (COB) 302.10p -2.39%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 140.10p -2.30%
SIG (SHI) 194.70p -2.21%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 989.50p -2.13%
Informa (INF) 480.00p -2.10%
National Express Group (NEX) 281.10p -2.06%
Senior (SNR) 277.10p -1.88%