- FTSE down 12 points
- All eye on CPI inflation figure
- InterCo Hotels falls despite posting profit
techMARK 2,855.49 -0.06%
FTSE 100 6,726.16 -0.15%
FTSE 250 16,217.82 -0.17%
Stocks surprised with a modest decline this morning as investors geared up for a data-heavy session both at home and across the Channel.
The FTSE declined 12 points early on, dragged by InterContinental Hotels Group, which failed to impress despite delivering a rise in 2013 profits and expressing confidence for the year ahead.
On the macro front, inflation figures for January are expected to show that the consumer price index (CPI) held at 2% last month, driven by slower increases in the prices of food.
In December, prices fell to the government's target of 2% for the first time, which eased pressure on the Bank of England (BoE) to raise interest rates following the recent recovery in the economy.
"Ever since Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced the changes to forward guidance to remove the focus from just the unemployment rate, the other pieces of tier one economic data have become even more important," Market Analyst Craig Erlam pointed out.
If CPI has indeed remained at 2%, then this will mean there is no pressure for the BoE to up interest rates, and it would show a reduction in the wage growth and inflation gap.
"This allows the consumer driven recovery to continue as people can buy more with their money," Erlam explained.
"Of course, this is still not sustainable in the long term if spending is being funded by debt, but it should aid the transition to the next stage of the recovery which involves businesses investing more in an improving economy."
Fall expected in German economic confidence
German economic confidence figures will be released. The ZEW institute's economic sentiment index is tipped to fall to 61.5 in February from 61.7 in January.
The same gauge, but for the Eurozone, is forecast to rise to 73.9 from 73.3 last month.
Over in Asia, the Bank of Japan announced its plan to extend two programmes offering low cost loans to banks by another 12 months.
Meanwhile, trading will resume in the US today after closing Monday to mark Presidents' Day. The Federal Reserve will hold its board meeting on banking supervision tonight, while the Empire State manufacturing index is forecast to show a decline to 10 from 12.51 in January.
InterContinental Hotels Group falls despite profit rise
InterContinental Hotels Group registered a decline this morning, despite the fact it posted a 3.7% rise in 2013 revenue to $1.9bn as the company opened 237 hotels and signed a further 444 into the pipeline. Revenue per available room climbed 3.8%, driven by a strong performance in the US. However, looking ahead to 2014 the group did not that economic conditions in some markets remained uncertain.
also declined heavily after Deutsche Bank reduced its target price on the stock from 315p to 300p, with a 'hold' rating.
Meanwhile, BHP Billiton rose after it reported a 15% increase in interim underlying operating profits, in terms of earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), to reach $12.4bn. Underlying attributable profit rose by 31% to reach $7.8bn.
IMI shares were once again higher after the group returned cash to shareholders via a payment of a C share dividend.
Oil giant Petrofac rose on reports the group has secured £65m-worth of contract extensions in the North Sea.
On the second tier, Ophir Energy moved lower despite reporting it had started drilling the Padouck Deep-1 well on the Ntsina block, offshore Gabon on the west coast of Central Africa.
FTSE 100 - Risers
TUI Travel (TT.) 449.40p +1.38%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,881.00p +1.02%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 355.40p +1.02%
IMI (IMI) 1,544.00p +0.92%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 397.30p +0.84%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,928.00p +0.84%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,327.00p +0.68%
BP (BP.) 490.95p +0.67%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,805.00p +0.67%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,915.00p +0.63%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Centrica (CNA) 307.10p -3.55%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,988.00p -2.88%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 991.00p -1.49%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 233.10p -1.40%
Fresnillo (FRES) 961.00p -1.33%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 96.90p -1.32%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 713.50p -1.04%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 340.50p -1.03%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,783.50p -0.96%
Barclays (BARC) 253.65p -0.94%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 119.10p +5.40%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 703.00p +3.92%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,347.00p +3.48%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 375.80p +2.29%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,946.00p +1.44%
Xaar (XAR) 1,070.00p +1.42%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 629.00p +0.96%
UK Commercial Property Trust (UKCM) 78.85p +0.90%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 323.00p +0.78%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 873.50p +0.75%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 268.50p -2.89%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 125.20p -1.88%
Rank Group (RNK) 148.20p -1.85%
Unite Group (UTG) 432.10p -1.82%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 51.65p -1.81%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 168.60p -1.75%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 895.00p -1.65%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 103.00p -1.53%
Halma (HLMA) 576.00p -1.45%
Evraz (EVR) 84.60p -1.40%