|CATEGORY: MARKET REPORT - CLOSE SECTOR: FINANCIAL SERVICES
Wed 18 Apr 2012
LONDON (SHARECAST) - - Financials, ex-div stocks weigh down Footsie
techMARK 2,045.97 -0.26%
FTSE 100 5,745.29 -0.38%
FTSE 250 11,431.99 +0.05%
- BoE’s Miles alone on more QE
- Italy may delay achieving balanced budget by a year
The Footsie finished firmly lower on Wednesday afternoon despite some positive domestic jobless figures, as concerns over the Eurozone continued to dampen sentiment. Stocks were pulling back after a strong rise the day before.
The number of unemployed people in the United Kingdom fell by 35,000 in the three months to February, according to the latest data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That saw the unemployment rate fall by a tenth of a percentage point to 8.3% and marks the first quarterly decrease since the three months to May 2011.
Meanwhile, just one member of the Bank of England's policy making group voted for an increase in quantitative easing in April, according to the minutes of the meeting. While members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to keep interest rates on hold, only David Miles voted to increase the £325bn programme of asset purchases. UK Gilts declined today after the minutes revealed concerns that inflation might not fall back as fast as the Bank hoped.
Weighing on the mood today was the Eurozone current account which showed a deficit of €1.3bn in February, compared with forecasts of a €4.1bn surplus, according to the European Central Bank (ECB). January's surplus was also revised down.
ECB Council member Jens Weidmann has said that there are no reasons to discuss a third long-term refinancing operation (LTRO). “Given what has become the standard response to talk of no monetary easing recently, it was no surprise then to see stocks tumble following this as well as a big sell off in the euro,” said analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
Turning to Italy, the country now estimates a 1.2% contraction compared to the prior 0.4% slump. A draft budget seen by Reuters showed that Italy will raise its 2012 deficit target to 1.7% of GDP from the prior 1.6%, and the number will rise to 0.5% for next year from the earlier 0.1% estimate. In these circumstances, the country now expects the budget to be balanced in 2014.
FTSE 100: Falling financials outweigh rising miners
The financial sectors were out of favour today on concerns about the global economy. Hedge fund manager Man Group led the decline dropping over 7%, while banking groups Lloyds, RBS and Barclays finished firmly in the red. HSBC fared a little better after saying that the Oman branch of its Middle-Eastern subsidiary is to merge with the country’s fifth-largest bank, Oman International Bank (OIB), in an attempt to expand its presence in a ‘key Gulf economy’. Shares slipped slightly.
Meanwhile, some heavyweights on the FTSE 100 were also providing a drag today after going ex-dividend, including BAE Systems, Capita, Kazakhmys, Legal & General, Old Mutual, Petrofac, Resolution and Smith & Nephew.
Heading the other way were the miners after a number of announcements impressed. Fresnillo hailed a strong start to 2012 with gold production beating its own expectations and silver output being on target. BHP Billiton was wanted after iron ore production at its Western Australian operations hit record levels in the nine months to the end of March. Rio Tinto rose after saying it is to underwrite a massive rights issue by its subsidiary, Ivanhoe Mines, with the funds used to pay for the development of Ivanhoe's Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia.
After being one of the high risers in the opening hour, supermarket firm Tesco finished the day lower after its in-line full-year results. According to Merchant Securities, the stock is trading at a "justified" discount to sector peers Sainsbury and Morrison and is "fairly priced". The latter two stocks were putting in a solid performance today.
Engineer GKN was back-pedalling despite reporting a 17% increase in year-on-year sales in the first quarter. Charles Stanley saw nothing in the statement to persuade it to change its 'reduce' recommendation, as the broker remains wary of the implications for the group should the US automotive market slow as some data would suggest.
FTSE 250: Ashtead on the rise, Heritage & Computacenter unwanted
Rental equipment firm Ashtead was a high riser on the back of a positive read-across from US peer United Rentals which beat consensus estimates after the closing bell on Wall Street last night. "We stress these successive record quarterly performances from both United Rentals and Ashtead are being delivered without the benefit, as yet, of any macroeconomic recovery," said US broker Jefferies.
European IT services provider Computacenter was a heavy faller after saying that margins had been hit in the first quarter due to the costs of moving staff into new roles in its services division and sales commissions.
Retailers were firmly out of favour with Kesa Electricals, Supergroup and Home Retail among the worst performers.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,624.00p +3.24%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,656.00p +3.11%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,744.00p +2.41%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,518.00p +2.36%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,503.00p +2.29%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 481.50p +2.12%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 608.00p +1.50%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 668.50p +1.36%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,191.50p +1.33%
Glencore International (GLEN) 414.95p +1.27%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Man Group (EMG) 99.60p -7.35%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 225.00p -5.86%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 118.20p -4.83%
BAE Systems (BA.) 289.20p -4.81%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 861.50p -4.01%
Old Mutual (OML) 150.10p -3.41%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 29.97p -3.17%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 24.43p -3.06%
Barclays (BARC) 214.25p -2.86%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 170.80p -2.40%
FTSE 250 - Risers
BTG (BGC) 376.10p +4.65%
Homeserve (HSV) 237.40p +4.58%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,280.00p +4.23%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 252.40p +4.21%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 51.10p +3.97%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 65.75p +3.54%
Anglo Pacific Group (APF) 313.10p +2.99%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 247.00p +2.87%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 164.80p +2.74%
Lamprell (LAM) 330.50p +2.70%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kesa Electricals (KESA) 57.15p -4.19%
Supergroup (SGP) 572.00p -4.03%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 410.10p -3.78%
BBA Aviation (BBA) 201.30p -3.68%
Spirit Pub Company (SPRT) 53.50p -3.60%
Chemring Group (CHG) 379.00p -3.17%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 103.90p -3.17%
HICL Infrastructure Company Ltd (HICL) 119.90p -2.99%
Invensys (ISYS) 191.50p -2.89%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 145.70p -2.74%
|Home Retail Group
|Legal & General Group
|Lloyds Banking Group
|Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets
|Royal Bank of Scotland Group
|Smith & Nephew
|Aerospace and Defence
|Automobiles & Parts
|Food & Drug Retailers
|Health Care Equipment & Services
|Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution
|Software & Computer Services