- Eurozone GDP beats forecasts in Q4
- Miners surge as metal prices gain
- Retailers, financials, Coca-Cola HBC lead the fallers
techMARK 2,827.29 +0.12%
FTSE 100 6,662.15 +0.04%
FTSE 250 16,102.29 +0.45%
A better-than-expected pick-up in Eurozone economic growth gave UK stocks a small boost on Friday as the FTSE 100 erased early losses to push into positive territory by midday.
Decent gains by the heavyweight mining sector were also providing a lift today, aided by a well-received set of results from blue-chip producer Anglo American, partly offset by weakness among retail and financial stocks and a fall by Coca-Cola HBC.
London's benchmark index, which fell to an intraday low of 6,646.47 this morning, was trading at around 6,662 by noon, up 0.04% from the previous close.
Eurostat reported this morning that Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.3% over the fourth quarter, accelerating from the 0.1% growth registered in the third quarter. Figures beat the consensus forecast for a GDP expansion of 0.2%.
"Activity continues to recover in the Eurozone," said Chief Market Strategist Brenda Kelly from IG. "While the political shenanigans in Italy are providing a Groundhog Day backdrop to proceedings, investors are choosing to focus on the better-than-expected GDP numbers from France, Holland and Germany."
In Italy, Prime Minister Enrico Letta has said he will resign today after his Democratic Party pushed for a new leader. Party leader Matteo Renzi called for a change of government yesterday following a meeting with Letta. Renzi, who has previously accused Letta of lack of action on improving the economy, is widely expected to take over the helm without an election.
Miners provide a lift
Mining stocks were leading the upside today with Anglo American among the best risers after reporting a 6% increase in 2013 underlying profits to $6.6bn as currency gains offset falling commodity prices during the year.
Fresnillo, Antofagasta and Glencore Xstrata were also in demand this morning, tracking metal prices higher. Gold prices, in particular, were performing well, breaking above the $1,300 level for the first time this year.
Meanwhile, copper miner Kazakhmys surged today, extending gains made earlier this week after the Kazakh government devalued its local currency which investors hope will lead to lower costs for the firm.
Retailers were out of favour with Morrison leading the decline after Exane BNP Paribas downgraded the stock to 'underperform'. Sainsbury, Next and Tesco also retreated.
High Street department store Marks & Spencer, however, edged higher on the back of speculation that it could soon unveil plans for a share buyback in an attempt to win back investor confidence in its turnaround.
Banking stocks were among the worst performers with RBS, Standard Chartered and Barclays registering losses. Lloyds was extending losses after its poorly-received 2013 results on Thursday with selling pressure continuing despite an upgrade by JPMorgan Cazenove to 'overweight'.
Coca-Cola bottling firm Coca-Cola HBC underwhelmed after strong earnings growth in the fourth quarter wasn't enough to spark a rise in underlying operating profits over 2013 as a whole.
Oilfield services group Petrofac was higher after Berenberg raised its rating on the stock to 'buy' and hiked its target price from 1,370p to 1,740p.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 963.00p +4.39%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,304.00p +3.08%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 927.00p +2.37%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 451.90p +2.24%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,000.00p +2.09%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 310.80p +1.77%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 337.85p +1.75%
Amec (AMEC) 1,098.00p +1.67%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,454.00p +1.61%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,898.00p +1.44%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,550.00p -2.45%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 231.00p -2.16%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 345.90p -1.73%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 401.80p -1.57%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 218.45p -1.35%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 96.35p -1.23%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,781.00p -1.03%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,327.00p -1.02%
Barclays (BARC) 254.00p -0.94%
Experian (EXPN) 1,068.00p -0.84%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 229.80p +11.39%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 64.40p +7.33%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,328.00p +6.75%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 16.90p +5.96%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 51.95p +3.38%
Polymetal International (POLY) 656.00p +3.06%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 149.50p +2.61%
Fenner (FENR) 421.60p +2.33%
Hunting (HTG) 818.00p +2.31%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 858.50p +2.26%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Home Retail Group (HOME) 183.70p -1.76%
Rightmove (RMV) 2,738.00p -1.40%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,416.00p -1.32%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.4 -1.30%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 920.00p -1.08%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 575.50p -0.95%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,050.00p -0.94%
Lonmin (LMI) 322.60p -0.80%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,988.00p -0.74%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 392.20p -0.71%