- FTSE 100 rebounds from lowest since April 28th
- Iraq tensions continue, US deploys troops
- UK inflation data in focus
- Shire gains on M&A hopes, Astra also in spotlight
techMARK 2,802.94 +0.21%
FTSE 100 6,762.27 +0.11%
FTSE 250 15,730.40 +0.15%
UK stocks rose slightly on Tuesday morning, bouncing off a seven-week low, helped by yet more M&A speculation in the pharmaceutical sector.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.1% higher at 6,762 in early trading.
Stocks have been under pressure in recent sessions on the back of continued fighting in Iraq between the army and Sunni Islamist militants. These concerns have sent oil prices
to multi-month highs while the FTSE 100 fell to 6,754.64 on Monday, its worst finish since April 28th.
The US government has deployed 275 personnel to Iraq to provide support and security for the US embassy in Baghdad.
However, yet more violence overnight will likely keep markets in a cautious mood today on reports that parts of the city of Baquba - just 37 miles from the capital - have been taken over by the rebels.
Investors were also awaiting a host of economic data from the UK this morning, including consumer price index (CPI) figures that are expected to show a dip in the annual rate of inflation from 1.8% to 1.7% in May. Retail and producer price indices are also due out today.
Elsewhere, there will be the closely-watched ZEW economic sentiment surveys from Germany and the Eurozone today, along with CPI figures and housing data from the States later on.
US data will be in focus ahead to the latest two-day policy meeting at the Federal Reserve, which kicks off today. Analysts widely expect the US central bank to continue tapering asset purchases by $10bn a month to $35bn, but will be keeping an eye out for comments on the economic outlook from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
Pharma M&A continues, Whitbread gains
Pharmaceutical group Shire was making gains after Reuters reported that it has hired investment bank Citi as an advisor as it braces for takeover bids. The company's Irish tax base and its mid-sized market value of £22bn makes it a prime acquisition target, analysts told the news agency.
Drugs giant AstraZeneca was lower on reports that it is on the lookout for new potential acquisitions and partnerships in an effort to improve shareholder value. Following the company's rejection of Pfizer's bid last month, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot is said to have sought advice from investment bank Centerview Partners.
A buoyant hotel market helped Premier Inn owner Whitbread to book a 6.9% rise in like-for-like sales in the first quarter of the year, causing shares
to rise early on.
Oil major Royal Dutch Shell fell on the news that it is to raise around $5bn after tax through the sale of a hefty chunk of its stake in Australian energy group Woodside Petroleum.
Meanwhile, natural gas producer BG Group edged higher after selling its stake in the Central Area Transmission System gas pipeline in the North Sea for £562m.
Surrey-based housebuilder Crest Nicholson was in demand after saying business has continued to flourish in a good housing market. The company said that with an improving economic backdrop it remains confident for the full-year.
Other housebuilders such as Persimmon, Barratt Developments and Bellway were also on the rise after JPMorgan downplayed concerns in the housing sector about an early interest rate rise. The bank said that Friday's sell-off among housing stocks was unwarranted.
Industrial rental group Ashtead, however, underwhelmed after saying that profits hit record levels in the year to April 30th, helping earnings beating expectations comfortably. Shares were sharply lower this morning.
Inkjet printing group Xaar plummeted early on after saying that it now expected revenues in 2014 to be below last year.
Mining stocks were mostly lower this morning as metal prices fell. Randgold, BHP Billiton, Fresnillo and Anglo American were in the red.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Whitbread (WTB) 4,336.00p +4.03%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,647.00p +3.14%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,463.00p +1.95%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 384.50p +1.67%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,286.00p +1.66%
Sage Group (SGE) 396.70p +1.56%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 869.50p +1.52%
TUI Travel (TT.) 390.00p +1.38%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 451.20p +1.37%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,203.00p +1.35%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 860.50p -2.99%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,508.00p -2.32%
Fresnillo (FRES) 806.00p -1.95%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,399.50p -1.58%
Kingfisher (KGF) 364.30p -1.51%
BT Group (BT.A) 379.50p -1.40%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,847.00p -0.97%
Tesco (TSCO) 286.45p -0.83%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 434.60p -0.75%
Diageo (DGE) 1,870.50p -0.72%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 335.40p +3.20%
Greencore Group (GNC) 279.50p +2.76%
NMC Health (NMC) 450.00p +2.04%
Supergroup (SGP) 923.00p +1.99%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 581.00p +1.93%
CSR (CSR) 610.00p +1.84%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,845.00p +1.82%
Perform Group (PER) 270.40p +1.73%
888 Holdings (888) 114.90p +1.68%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,650.00p +1.48%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Xaar (XAR) 578.00p -22.15%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 177.10p -2.64%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 235.90p -2.44%
Polymetal International (POLY) 530.50p -2.39%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 395.30p -1.79%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 280.30p -1.30%
esure Group (ESUR) 268.80p -1.25%
Evraz (EVR) 90.90p -1.20%
Synergy Health (SYR) 1,345.00p -1.10%
Intu Properties (INTU) 308.20p -1.06%