- Eurozone CPI data due out
- US activity indicators expected later in the day
- Weak Japanese economic figures
techMARK 2,854.37 +0.28%
FTSE 100 6,821.75 +0.21%
FTSE 250 15,909.75 -0.01%
UK stocks were registering only slight gains in the early going ahead of the release of the latest Eurozone inflation numbers and a spate of high-frequency data due for release later Stateside.
An hour after the start of trading the FTSE 100 was edging 16 points higher to 6,821.75.
Economists expect Eurozone consumer prices to have slowed to a 0.3% year-on-year rate of change in August, after a reading of 0.4% in the month before. That follows flat economic growth in the euro area during the second quarter as activity levels in Germany came off sharply.
Speaking to Bloomberg TV German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble insisted that the European Central Bank can only "buy time" with its monetary policy, emphasising the need for structural economic reforms.
Acting as a backdrop, according to images released by Nato on Thursday, Russian armed forces did indeed enter Ukrainian territory, claims that Russia had denied.
Weaker than expected data out of Japan
Meanwhile, overnight data released from Japan indicated the country had suffered a second month of weakness, offering what Alpari UK market analyst Joshua Mahony described as "yet another glimpse of the economy at a time where markets want to know if there is enough juice in the system for the Bank of Japan to reach their [inflation] targets, along with the question of whether the sales tax continues to drag the economy down following it's introduction in April".
Industrial output in the land of the rising sun grew at a 0.2% month-on-month clip in July, well below the 1% gain which analysts had pencilled in.
Household spending contracted by 5.9% year-on-year in July, almost twice the expected rate of decline.
Housing market showing signs of slowdown
House prices inched just 0.1% higher in August, according to Hometrack's monthly national housing survey.
It was the second consecutive month that the gap between supply and demand narrowed, with the number of new buys down 0.9%, although this was largely due to seasonal factors.
The narrowing meant that although average house prices continued to rise, the upward pressure was reduced.
"This is increasing the amount of time properties are spending on the market and resulting in sellers having to accept larger discounts to the asking price to achieve a sale," Hometrack explained.
Building society Nationwide offered a more upbeat assessment, with UK house prices up by 0.8% month-on-month (11% year-on-year) versus forecasts for a rise of 10.1%.
Tesco anticipates profit fall of up to 27%
The pressure is on for new boss Dave Lewis at Tesco after the struggling grocery giant said on Friday that it expects profits to fall by as much as 27% this year and its interim dividend to be cut by 75%. Lewis, due to take over from Philip Clarke who announced his resignation in July, will now join the group one month earlier than planned on 1 September.
Sabsa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of drinks giant SABMiller, has completed the sale of its stake in Tsogo Sun through the placing of 293,896 shares
and the sale of 7.78m shares. Tsogo Sun also repurchased the company's remaining 133.58m shares. Altogether, the disposal generated around $1bn.
Road and rail haulier Stobart Group reported satisfactory trading in all its divisions, with biomass tonnages up in its energy division and higher passenger numbers in its airport business. But profits in its energy business were lower as a result of competition from exports and the end of a transport contract in February.
Gaming giant Bwin.party widened its first-half loss, reflecting a fall in casino and poker revenues. Loss before tax in the six months to 30 June 2014 came to €94m, up from €11.6 the previous year. Revenue declined to €317.1m from €342.5m as a solid performance from sports betting was offset by year-on-year declines in casino and poker.
Computacenter posted higher first-half profits and a good UK performance, but the IT services provider flagged up challenges in France and Germany. Computacenter said adjusted pre-tax profit in the six months to 30 June rose 6.8% to £28m on a 2.2% rise in revenue to £1.46bn
FTSE 100 - Risers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,584.00p +2.33%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 455.20p +1.25%
St James's Place (STJ) 712.50p +1.21%
3i Group (III) 393.70p +1.21%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,129.00p +1.07%
CRH (CRH) 1,441.00p +1.05%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 727.50p +1.04%
Fresnillo (FRES) 950.00p +1.01%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 436.00p +1.00%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 76.93p +0.85%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tesco (TSCO) 230.05p -6.60%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 291.60p -3.92%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 180.40p -3.48%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 426.50p -2.65%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 880.50p -0.96%
Next (NXT) 7,080.00p -0.84%
Hammerson (HMSO) 608.00p -0.82%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,343.00p -0.74%
Royal Mail (RMG) 446.30p -0.62%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,331.00p -0.60%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 82.90p +3.43%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 294.50p +1.83%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 627.00p +1.46%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 995.50p +1.32%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 230.00p +1.32%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 293.70p +1.31%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,139.00p +1.24%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 131.50p +1.15%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 121.20p +1.00%
Hays (HAS) 133.20p +0.99%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Exova Group (EXO) 194.00p -9.77%
Afren (AFR) 91.10p -8.44%
CSR (CSR) 749.50p -3.91%
Berendsen (BRSN) 1,060.00p -2.75%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 330.60p -2.56%
Poundland Group (PLND) 310.00p -2.52%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 440.80p -2.24%
Perform Group (PER) 209.20p -2.06%
AO World (AO.) 217.90p -1.76%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 647.50p -1.75%