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FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers

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UK markets opened with small gains on Thursday despite weakness across European indices, with London stocks on course to close at their highest level in two weeks.

The FTSE 100 was trading 0.2% higher at 6,866 in early trading. The benchmark index has not finished above this level since May 14th when it settled at a new 14-year high of 6,878.49.

“When a lurch to the upside loses momentum, it is fairly normal to see a retracement of sorts as profits are booked and bears catch a whiff of the honey,” said Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads.

“In this instance however, the sell-off is showing little sign of materialising. Investors have reached the summit of the mountain and who can blame them for taking a session or two to admire the view.”

Markets were awaiting key macro data from the States with revised US economic growth estimates for the first quarter due out at 13:30. The market widely expects annualised growth to be revised down to -0.5%, from the initial reading of +0.1%. “Weaker private inventories and business structures are likely to drive the revision,” according to analysts at UniCredit.

Speculation surrounding a new round of Chinese stimulus could be a factor behind the positive moves seen this morning. Analysts at Barclays said they see an “increasing probability that more significant monetary easing […] will be announced in the coming weeks”.

Comments from Monetary Policy Committee member Martin Weale were in focus today after he said policymakers will need to lift interest rates from record-low levels “sooner rather than later”.

In an interview with the Financial Times that will likely bring forward expectations of a rate raise, Weale said the central bank must act soon to avoid a sharper and more painful tightening in policy in the future. “If you want to have baby steps you do have to start sooner,” he told the UK paper.

Smith & Nephew gains, Kingfisher slumps

Medical device maker Smith & Nephew was a high riser again after reports yesterday suggested that US peer Stryker was working on a bid of the firm. While the rumours were denied by Stryker, Smith & Nephew’s share price was continuing to extend gains this morning.

DIY retailer Kingfisher dropped despite hailing a “strong start to the year” with retail profits up 20% in the first quarter. However, strong growth in the UK and Poland overshadowed continued weakness in its second-largest market, France.

Aggreko the temporary power and temperature control services group, was a heavy faller after saying that interim Chief Executive Officer Angus Cockburn will be replaced on a permanent basis by Centrica board member Chris Weston. Cockburn, who stepped in after previous boss Rupert Soames quit earlier this year, is “keen to seek fresh challenges”, the company said.

UK water company Severn Trent reported annual earnings in line with consensus, although revenues were slightly short of expectations, causing shares to slip this morning.

Supermarket giant Tesco gained after completing the deal to create a joint venture with China Resources Enterprise, merging its Chinese operations with the largest food retailer in the country.

FTSE 100 – Risers
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,021.00p +2.77%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,625.00p +1.59%
IMI (IMI) 1,580.00p +1.22%
Diageo (DGE) 1,903.00p +1.20%
Royal Mail (RMG) 521.50p +1.07%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,026.00p +0.98%
ITV (ITV) 186.40p +0.98%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,421.00p +0.92%
Centrica (CNA) 333.80p +0.91%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,565.50p +0.81%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
Kingfisher (KGF) 393.00p -5.82%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,698.00p -2.92%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,269.00p -2.24%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,686.00p -1.86%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 914.50p -1.19%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,395.00p -0.95%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,429.00p -0.78%
Next (NXT) 6,625.00p -0.75%
Sage Group (SGE) 411.10p -0.72%
CRH (CRH) 1,661.00p -0.72%

Source: ShareCast

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