FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers
Meanwhile, so-called ‘momentum’ stocks which had borne the brunt of reduced risk appetite over recent days were providing a lift to markets as bargain hunters stepped back in.
The FTSE 100 as trading 0.6% higher at 6,578 in early trading. The index closed at 6,541.61 on Tuesday, its lowest finish since March 24th, on concerns about heightened tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
Investors were largely shrugging off some mixed economic data from China this morning, where annualised economic growth slowed down from 7.7% to 7.4% in the first quarter. This was ahead of analysts’ estimates but below the government’s 7.5% growth target for the full year.
Meanwhile, Chinese industrial production and fixed asset investment growth for March missed consensus forecasts this morning, while retail sales came in slightly ahead.
Markets will also have plenty of global economic data to digest during the rest of today’s session, including unemployment figures from the UK, revisions to Eurozone inflation and a raft of housing data from the States.
Analysts also noted that trading volumes across global financial markets were likely to be low over the remainder of the week ahead of the four-day break for Easter this weekend.
Tesco rises, momentum shares bounce
Tesco profits fell for the first time in 20 years, though the decline was not as bad as analysts predicted. A 6.7% fall in group trading profit to £3.32bn was still marginally ahead of consensus analyst forecasts of £3.24bn, with underlying pre-tax profits of £3.05bn slightly greater than the estimates of £2.9bn.
Hargreaves Lansdown amassed a record level of assets under administration and net inflows in the first three months of the year as investor sentiment improved, helping the stock higher this morning.
Burberry was higher despite the high end fashion brand warning of “material” currency headwinds this year, after the company reported 19% underlying revenue growth in the second half.
Housebuilder Persimmon also gained after saying total forward sales revenue increased 35% from 2013 as it starts off its new financial year on a strong footing.
Sports Direct, IAG, Hargreaves Lansdown and Ashtead, which have all been under heavy selling pressure over the past week, were performing well this morning. Investors had taken profits following some impressive gains over the last year.
Similarly, high-growth stocks such as Thomas Cook and Ocado were recovering after a recent sell-off.
Energy services group Hunting declined after saying that trading in the first quarter was slower than expected due to poor weather in North America and project delays in Asia Pacific.
BAE Systems was trading lower after going ex-dividend today, along with Melrose, Capita and Premier Oil. ARM Holdings also went ex-dividend but was inching higher this morning as investors reacted to results from global sector peers ASML and Intel.
FTSE 100 – Risers
Tesco (TSCO) 297.75p +4.00%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 770.50p +3.35%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 386.50p +2.74%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 866.50p +2.48%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 205.50p +2.34%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,746.00p +2.05%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,795.00p +1.82%
WPP (WPP) 1,238.00p +1.64%
St James’s Place (STJ) 754.00p +1.55%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,897.00p +1.51%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
BAE (BA.) 381.10p -2.76%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 277.30p -1.84%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,498.00p -1.61%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,514.00p -0.92%
Capita (CPI) 1,057.00p -0.75%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 865.50p -0.69%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,614.00p -0.68%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 371.20p -0.51%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,425.50p -0.29%
Fresnillo (FRES) 899.00p -0.28%