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FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers

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UK stocks retreated from a four-week high on Tuesday as investors took profits after recent bullishness sent a number of global equity indices to record highs.

The FTSE 100 was trading 0.3% lower at 6,852 in early trading. The index rose to 6,875 on Monday, its highest finish since May 14th when it set a new 14-year closing high of 6,878.49.

Germany’s DAX closed above the 10,000 level for the first time in history yesterday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 continued to set all-time highs in the US last night. Global stocks, as measured by the FTSE 100 All-World Index, rose 0.2% to a fresh record high while market volatility was maintained at multi-year lows.

Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK, said that the gains were registered “against a backdrop of central banks determined to keep interest rates low, and liquidity ample”. He said: “Given the prevailing sentiment it remains difficult to imagine what the catalyst would be to prompt any sort of sharp downward correction.”

Economic data from China was being closely watched today after a bigger-than-anticipated climb in consumer prices to 2.5% year-on-year. Although this was still notably below the government’s target of 3.5%, analysts believe the figure should allay concerns of a disinflationary environment, whilst also staying low enough to pave the way for future stimulus measures.

Here in the UK, today’s focus will also be on data releases for UK industrial and manufacturing production this morning, which are both expected to show a pick-up in activity in April.

Consumer staples rise

Consumer staples were in demand this morning as investors sought out defensive sectors amid a reduction in risk appetite. Household goods companies such as Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever were making gains, along with tobacco group Imperial.

Imperial said this morning that it intends to float its logistics business Logista on the Spanish stock exchange, but retain the majority of shares in the subsidiary.

Technology tool maker Oxford Instruments was higher after hailing an improved set of full-year results, with orders, sales and profits all ahead of the prior year.

Retailers were in focus this morning after Goldman Sachs downgraded sportswear chain Sports Direct and cash-and-carry group Booker. The bank, however, raised ASOS to ‘conviction buy’, helping the stock to recover slightly after getting pummelled by a profit warning from the online fashion retailer last week.

Natural gas producer BG Group was being weighed down by a ratings cut at Exane BNP Paribas from ‘outperform’ to ‘neutral’.

AIM-listed Tristel was a big mover this morning, surging after the contamination control and hygiene group raised its full-year guidance again after a stronger-than-expected fourth quarter.

FTSE 100 – Risers
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 379.30p +0.90%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,651.00p +0.65%
BAE Systems (BA.) 432.50p +0.44%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,347.00p +0.37%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,612.00p +0.35%
CRH (CRH) 1,719.00p +0.29%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,135.00p +0.29%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,078.00p +0.28%
WPP (WPP) 1,303.00p +0.23%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 455.00p +0.20%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
Old Mutual (OML) 201.10p -1.66%
BG Group (BG.) 1,231.50p -1.56%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 415.10p -1.38%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,586.00p -1.37%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 192.00p -1.34%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 770.50p -1.34%
William Hill (WMH) 343.20p -1.27%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,212.00p -1.14%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 3,024.00p -1.08%
GKN (GKN) 387.80p -1.07%

Source: ShareCast

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