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FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers

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UK stocks jumped in early trading on Thursday as a dovish set of Federal Reserve meeting minutes and a strong start to the earnings season prompted strong gains on Wall Street the previous session.

The FTSE 100 had risen by 0.8 per cent to 6,533 within the opening hour of trade, helped by a decent performance by mining stocks as metal prices advanced.

US stock notched up their best single-day performance this year on Wednesday – the S&P 500 rose 1.8 per cent – after details of the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting eased concerns about an early rate hike.

Policymakers expressed fears about how a slowdown in global growth and a stronger dollar could affect the US economy, as they maintained their forward guidance to keep interest rates low for a “considerable time”.

Analysts at Rabobank said: “It appears the Fed are happy to constantly sell the US recovery story, but not to act on it on the rates front (yet?).”

Meanwhile, aluminium producer Alcoa unofficially kicked off corporate earnings season on Wall Street with a bang after the close, reporting a tripling of third-quarter profits on the back of higher prices and demand.

As for Thursday’s session, all eyes will be on the Bank of England was it releases its latest policy decision amid cooling speculation of an interest rate increase. Analysts expect the central bank will keep the benchmark rate at 0.50 per cent and asset purchases unchanged.

However, they have grown somewhat more divided on the timing of the first increase in Bank Rate, while markets have been pushing out the expected date of the first increase to mid-2015, following weaker readings on manufacturing and house prices.

Mining stocks surge

Precious metal miners Randgold Resources, Fresnillo, Polymetal and Centamin were rising strongly early on as a weaker dollar prompted a jump in gold and silver prices. Centamin announced on Thursday that third-quarter gold output increased by 15 per cent.

The wider mining sector was also in positive territory with Antofagasta, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton putting in decent gains.

Rolls-Royce was in demand after the power systems firm announced an order for its Trent 1000 engines from Nordic airline Norwegian.

Postal operator Royal Mail also rose after saying it has done a deal to end a competition probe in France.

Clothing retailer N Brown saw shares sink after the company lowered its guidance for full-year profits on the back of a weak start to the second half due to mild weather.

A handful of stocks on the top-tier FTSE 100 index were trading lower early on after going ex-dividend, including Aviva and KingfisherTravis Perkins, Weir Group and WPP also went ex-dividend, along with FTSE 250 groups Balfour Beatty, Cobham and Rightmove.

FTSE 100 – Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,326.00p +6.81%
Fresnillo (FRES) 762.50p +5.39%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 978.50p +3.54%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 698.00p +3.41%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 881.50p +3.04%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,698.00p +2.47%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,060.00p +2.38%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,500.00p +2.32%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,252.00p +2.12%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 994.50p +2.00%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,780.00p -0.71%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 202.95p -0.66%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,550.00p -0.58%
Aviva (AV.) 510.00p -0.58%
Kingfisher (KGF) 312.40p -0.10%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 634.20p -0.03%

Source: ShareCast

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