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FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers

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UK equities opened slightly higher on Friday as decent gains in the mining sector lifted the resource-heavy FTSE 100.

London’s benchmark index was trading 0.4% higher at 6,566 in early trading.

Nevertheless, the mood was cautious amid developments in the Ukraine crisis as EU and US leaders impose more sanctions on Russian officials after this week’s annexation of Crimea.

President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he would extend financial sanctions to more of Vladimir Putin’s ‘inner circle’, including wealthy supporters and a bank close to the Kremlin.

The new sanctions prompted ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to revise its outlook on Russian debt from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ due to “rising geopolitical and economic risks”.

Markets were also awaiting speeches from four members of the US Federal Reserve following Janet Yellen’s revelation on Wednesday that interest rates may rise sooner than expected.

Alongside the Fed’s decision this week to taper asset purchases by $10bn a month again, Yellen signalled that the first rate hike could come “around six months” after quantitative easing ends.

Fed officials James Bullard, Richard Fisher, Narayana Kocherlakota and Jeremy Stein are all due to talk later on this evening.

Miners rise, financials mixed

Mining stocks were performing well this morning as bargain hunters stepped in following a recent slump in the sector. At Thursday’s close, the FTSE 350 mining sector had lost over 11% over the last four weeks.

Anglo American, Fresnillo, Glencore Xstrata, Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and BHP Billiton were among the best performers early on.

Financial stocks were putting in a mixed performance with insurers still in focus following this week’s shake-up of the UK annuities market announced as part of the 2014 Budget. Legal & General and Prudential were both trading lower early on.

Global banking groups HSBC and Standard Chartered were higher, while domestic lenders RBS, Lloyds and Barclays were lower. RBS was hit with a downgrade by Barclays Capital to ‘equal weight’ this morning.

Pharmaceuticals firm Hikma was also trading in the red this morning after Jefferies lowered the stock to ‘hold’.

FTSE 100 – Risers
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 325.90p +2.45%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,444.00p +2.30%
Meggitt (MGGT) 477.60p +1.73%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,210.00p +1.68%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 603.40p +1.55%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,980.00p +1.40%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,201.00p +1.39%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 305.35p +1.33%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,628.00p +1.24%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 651.50p +1.24%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 367.40p -1.76%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,396.00p -1.69%
Whitbread (WTB) 4,172.00p -1.14%
William Hill (WMH) 343.00p -1.04%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 304.00p -0.94%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 302.80p -0.82%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 839.50p -0.77%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,342.00p -0.74%
Barclays (BARC) 237.10p -0.65%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 78.26p -0.62%

Source: ShareCast