- Russia backs Ukraine peace initiative
- Weak consumer confidence data in Europe
- Cease fire accord reached in Israel
techMARK 2,837.25 +0.15%
FTSE 100 6,822.05 -0.01%
FTSE 250 16,007.49 +0.06%
UK equities began the day ever so slightly in the red as traders reacted coolly to the fresh record close on the S&P 500
overnight, which saw the value of global equities establish their own record, at $66trn, according to Bloomberg data.
Weighing on stocks at the start of trading were weaker than expected readings on consumer confidence out in Germany and Italy in what is expected to be a light day in terms of economic data.
Geopolitical tensions on the other hand appeared to ratchet down a bit overnight. Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, said that the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Kazhakstan had backed his country's peace initiative.
Just Tuesday in an interview with the Financial Times NATO's Secretary General warned that the recent focus on Russian aid convoys may have been meant to distract from a build-up of regular Russian troops in the area.
In parallel, a "long-term" truce was on Tuesday night called between Israel and Hamas in a deal brokered by Egypt, although with firing continuing right up until, and according to some reports even after the agreement, there remains a level of uncertainty as to whether the ceasefire will hold.
Cost-cutting saves the day at Evraz
Russian steel producer Evraz reported lower first-half steel production and revenue, but said cost-cutting had helped it boost earnings by 17%. The group also said political unrest in the Ukraine and related Western sanctions against Russia had not affected the company.
In UK company news, RBS has been fined £14.5m by the Financial Conduct Authority after giving unsuitable advice to mortgage customers.
A focus on its mobile offering helped online gaming group 888 to deliver another set of record interim results, with strong cash flows leading to a 17% increase in the dividend.
Precious metals producer Polymetal turned into the blue during the first six months of the year reporting net profits of $100m versus a loss of $255m in the same period of the previous year. Revenues however only increased 1% to $727m.
Gas explorer and producer BG Group has taken a step forward in developing a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Tanzania. BG said results from tests on its Mzia find off the coast of the southern African country further bolstered the case for a new onshore LNG scheme in the area.
Specialist engineering services group James Fisher reported an 8% rise in first half revenue, which helped to lift underlying pre-tax profit by 13% to £21.9m, despite the adverse effects of currency movements. That came as the group's subsidiary, Divex, won a contract to supply a saturation diving system for the BP Exploration Shah Deniz II project in the Caspian Sea.
Builders merchant Grafton almost doubled earnings in the first half of the year as the recovery in UK and Ireland became more broadly based, but it expects the second half to slow against strong numbers the year before. Chief executive Gavin Slark hailed the "milestone" of lifting operating margins to 5%, saying this was a key point in the company's "journey from recovery to growth".
FTSE 100 - Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,144.00p +1.87%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,372.00p +1.33%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 362.60p +1.26%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,958.00p +1.08%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,039.00p +1.07%
Fresnillo (FRES) 921.50p +0.99%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,059.00p +0.86%
Old Mutual (OML) 200.70p +0.75%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 207.20p +0.66%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,032.00p +0.58%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Friends Life Group Limited (FLG) 304.00p -1.84%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 893.00p -1.65%
CRH (CRH) 1,400.00p -1.41%
St James's Place (STJ) 731.50p -1.15%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,713.00p -0.98%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 239.50p -0.95%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,384.00p -0.86%
National Grid (NG.) 885.50p -0.73%
Hammerson (HMSO) 606.00p -0.66%
Capita (CPI) 1,219.00p -0.65%
FTSE 250 - Risers
RPS Group (RPS) 290.00p +3.46%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,332.00p +2.87%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 185.40p +1.87%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 62.50p +1.79%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,379.00p +1.77%
Interserve (IRV) 684.50p +1.56%
Redrow (RDW) 282.40p +1.51%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 137.00p +1.48%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 302.20p +1.41%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 392.60p +1.39%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 274.80p -6.63%
Exova Group (EXO) 212.40p -2.52%
Infinis Energy (INFI) 215.80p -1.82%
Countrywide (CWD) 532.50p -1.75%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 144.00p -1.57%
Perform Group (PER) 208.00p -1.42%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 590.00p -1.09%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 484.80p -1.06%
Hays (HAS) 131.90p -1.05%
SEGRO (SGRO) 372.00p -1.01%