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FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers

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UK stocks edged higher on Thursday after sinking to a five-week low, though gains were only modest ahead of a data-heavy session.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.3 per cent at 6,520 early deals, helped by a small rebound in the energy sector.

A three-day sell-off wiped 3.5 per cent off the value of the Footsie and sent the index to its lowest level since 4 November, closing Wednesday’s session at 6,500.04.

Concerns about a plummeting oil price, political uncertainty in Greece and a steeper-than-expected slowdown in China have weighed heavily on global stock markets this week.

Sentiment was repaired somewhat on Thursday on the back of a Reuters report saying that China told banks to issue more loans in the final months of 2014 to boost lending. The People’s Bank of China has also reportedly relaxed limits on banks’ loan-to-deposit ratios and is allowing lenders to give out a record 10trn yuan (£1.03trn) in loans over 2014 as a whole.

Oil prices stabilised slightly, but were still close to the fresh five-year lows reached on Wednesday – Brent dipped below $65 a barrel – after OPEC cut its demand forecast for next year and the US reported a surprise increase in crude stockpiles. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister questioned OPEC’s need to cut output despite a supply glut.

Investors were likely to be keeping a close eye on economic data on Thursday, with inflation figures out in Germany, and retail sales, jobless claims and business inventories in the States. The European Central Bank will also publish its monthly bulletin.

Energy shares rebound, Bunzl and Whitbread fall

Stocks in the oil producing and oil services sectors were making gains early on as investors hunted for bargains in the aftermath of a recent sell-off. Petrofac,Tullow Oil, BP and Shell were all putting in a decent performance.

Heading the other way was distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl after saying that full-year underlying revenue growth would be around 2.5 per cent, compared with the 3 per cent increase reported in the third quarter.

Whitbread, the owner of Costa coffee, Premier Inn and Beefeater, also underwhelmed with a slight slowdown in like-for-like sales growth in the third quarter to 6 per cent, from 7 per cent in the first half.

Sports Direct edged higher after announcing that underlying profits rose by a tenth in the first half as decent top-line growth was met with a strong improvement in margins – a result which the sports retailer described as “solid”.

A number of stocks were trading lower after going ex-dividend on Thursday, including Associated British Foods, Aberdeen Asset Management, Babcock and 3I Group.

Market Movers
techMARK 2,918.70 +0.24%
FTSE 100 6,520.08 +0.31%
FTSE 250 15,733.28 -0.03%

FTSE 100 – Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 735.50p +2.58%
BP (BP.) 406.35p +1.69%
Next (NXT) 6,570.00p +1.55%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 385.30p +1.53%
Royal Dutch Shell ‘A’ (RDSA) 2,063.00p +1.38%
Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ (RDSB) 2,126.00p +1.31%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 244.40p +1.28%
BG Group (BG.) 883.50p +1.27%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 229.20p +1.24%
Old Mutual (OML) 189.50p +1.12%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 426.20p -2.83%
3i Group (III) 438.60p -2.34%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,269.00p -2.33%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,766.00p -1.56%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,097.00p -1.35%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,548.50p -0.96%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,196.50p -0.91%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 3,175.00p -0.81%
Whitbread (WTB) 4,532.00p -0.81%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,681.00p -0.71%

Source: ShareCast

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