FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers
As of 09:17 the Footsie was off by 27 points to 6,530.
Although the ECB is not expected to adjust its current rate, there is speculation that Thursday could set the stage for an eventual move towards a full-blown quantitative easing programme.
That comes after concerns about the end of the bond buying programme in the US knocked confidence in both the States and Asia, with stock markets in the latter falling for a fifth consecutive session.
Feeding those concerns were the latest weaker-than-expected manufacturing data releases out of the Eurozone and Japan, as well as China on the previous day. Be that as it may, in parallel there were some signs of possible strength in global capital markets.
Saudi Arabian lender NCB announced its intention to launch the largest ever stock market float in the Middle East, with a value of $6bn. Meanwhile, German internet incubator Rocket priced its own IPO at the top end of the expected range, although it started trading on Thursday with its shares down by 2 per cent.
Not to be lost sight of sentiment in the Asia-Pacific region continued to be weak, with the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong promising to step up their protests ahead of the deadline given for the resignation of the region’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying.
“US markets fell aggressively overnight with the Dow losing 1.4% due to markets finally realising that the QE stimulus package is about to end,” Alpari UK market analyst James Hughes said.
As regards the ECB’s own decision, in a note to clients sent on Thursday morning Gael Gunbu at Deutsche Bank explained to clients that: “[…] any changes in ECB rhetoric will be closely watched as pressure has continued to build on the ECB to bring in full public QE. There will no doubt be questions about whether government bond purchases will be used if the ECB can’t increase their balance sheet by the trillion of Euros that Draghi has made a policy aspiration.”
The coast is clear TUI Travel tells investors
In company news, TUI Travel said its full year underlying operating profit growth would be towards the upper end of its previous guidance after a solid finish to the year.
Print-head maker Xaar has again warned on profits for both the current and next full year as a further slowdown in Chinese tile production activity has hit demand for its products. A third-quarter update explained that sales for 2014 are now expected to be 5-10% below the recent profit guidance of £115-125m, with profits likely to be materially lower due to the company’s high operating leverage.
Housebuilder Galliford Try has been appointed by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) as selected panel member for the Greenwich, Lewisham and Croydon Priority School Building Programme batch, worth more than £45m. It marks Galliford Try’s third success since being appointed to the EFA’s main contractor framework last year.
It was a strong performance from clothing retailer Ted Baker in the 28 weeks ended 9 August, with revenue up 17 per cent to £182.2m and profit before tax jumping 33.8 per cent to £15.6m. The group also increased its dividend payment by 18.9 per cent to 11.3p.
FTSE 100 – Risers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 162.50p +1.63%
Tesco (TSCO) 182.20p +1.11%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 368.00p +0.79%
TUI Travel (TT.) 385.00p +0.63%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 949.50p +0.58%
Shire Plc (SHP) 5,340.00p +0.56%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 393.10p +0.54%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 933.50p +0.48%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 400.50p +0.40%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,641.00p +0.38%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 977.00p -4.59%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,052.00p -3.04%
BG Group (BG.) 1,072.50p -1.88%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,189.00p -1.67%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,231.00p -1.52%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,299.00p -1.50%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 996.50p -1.43%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,457.00p -1.29%
IMI (IMI) 1,191.00p -1.24%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 288.20p -1.23%