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FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers

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UK stocks retreated on Tuesday morning as investors adopted a cautious approach ahead of eurozone inflation figures which are expected to set the stage for a policy meeting later this week.

The FTSE 100 was trading 0.3% lower at 6,847 in early trading.

With European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi ready to act to combat weak inflation and high unemployment if necessary, markets will be keeping a close eye on the consumer price index (CPI) due out at 10:00 in an attempt to gauge what move policymakers will make on Thursday.

Economists expect the increase in eurozone consumer prices to ease to 0.9% in May from 1% in April, which would put more pressure on the ECB to give the single-currency region a kick-start. The ECB is targeting inflation of just under 2%.

According to Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets, CPI is “seen falling back towards their recent lows, adding weight to the argument for stimulus from the ECB, especially after the German deflationary reads yesterday”.

Concerns over a slowdown in China were also dampening sentiment after the final reading of HSBC’s own manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for May was revised lower from 49.7 to 49.4 in May. This was up from 48.1 in April but below analysts’ forecasts and still below the 50-point mark which marks a contraction.

This came in contrast to the government’s ‘official’ manufacturing PMI released at the weekend which showed that growth in the sector had picked up slightly last month.

Wolseley gains, Pennon drops

Currency movements put a dampener on third-quarter results at heating and plumbing products group Wolseley, though strong growth in the US and Nordic regions drove an acceleration in like-for-like sales, to 5.1%, helping shares to rise strongly this morning.

South West Water owner Pennon declined despite unveiling higher annual profits and dividends, as the company said its Viridor landfill and waste recycling business took a hit from cut-throat pricing by rivals.

Security group G4S was trading lower on the news that is to be examined by a UK government-funded watchdog after a complaint made by a human rights group in Israel.

Newly floated estate agent Foxtons dropped after announcing that Chief Executive Michael Brown is quitting for personal reasons.

Source: ShareCast