FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers
Concerns about slumping iron-ore prices – currently trading at five-year lows – and slowing growth in China weighed heavily on the heavyweight resources sector in London on Thursday. Nevertheless, bargain-hunting boosted a number of blue-chip miners in early trading on Friday, while oil stocks tracked crude prices higher.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.4 per cent at 6,708 within the opening hour.
The positive start follows another record finish on Wall Street on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 set new all-time highs as concerns about weaker growth overseas – manufacturing in the Eurozone and China specifically – were overshadowed by some decent US economic data.
“Once again some encouraging economic data has kept investors viewing the US economy through the prism of a glass half full,” said analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets. “[Recent data] points to two out of the three trading blocs in the world struggling to recover, […] with the only question on most people’s lips being how long can the US maintain its current progress,” he said.
Friday is expected to be a fairly quiet day in terms of economic data, though many will be focusing on events in Greece as prime minister Antonis Samaras puts his proposed budget to the president of the parliament.
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann are also scheduled to speech at the latest European Banking Congress in Frankfurt.
Resources gain, Salamander rises
Mining peers such as Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Glencore, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta were heading higher on Friday morning, rebounding after some heavy losses the previous session.
Oil and gas groups were also performing well as crude prices recovered after hitting multi-year lows last week. West Texas Intermediate oil was poised for its first weekly gain since September as investors continued to speculate about whether OPEC will cut output at its meeting next week.
Blue chips Tullow Oil, Shell, BG Group and BP were all putting in decent gains in London.
Broker upgrades were also helping shares of oil explorers Premier Oil and Enquest after analysts at Westhouse Securities raised their ratings on the stocks to ‘add’ and ‘buy’, respectively.
Meanwhile, Salamander Energy and larger counterpart Ophir Energy confirmed details of a possible takeover valuing Salamander at around £300m. The potential offer represents a premium of 44.5 per cent to its closing price prior to discussions.
Salamander’s shares were making gains in early deals, while Ophir’s stock price slumped.
Tullett Prebon, the inter-dealer broker, was also trading firmly lower after the company announced a placing to help fund the acquisition of PVM Oil Associates, expected to be completed next week. The placing, set to raise over £32m, is expected to be priced at 248p per share, a steep discount to Tullett’s share price on Thursday.
British Gas owner Centrica was extending losses after a profit warning on Thursday, as the company lowered its earnings forecast on the back of mild weather.
techMARK 2,879.72 +0.34%
FTSE 100 6,707.70 +0.43%
FTSE 250 15,651.73 +0.30%
FTSE 100 – Risers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 492.10p +3.10%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 999.50p +2.09%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 186.70p +1.85%
CRH (CRH) 1,444.00p +1.76%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,201.00p +1.44%
Royal Dutch Shell ‘A’ (RDSA) 2,286.00p +1.42%
Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ (RDSB) 2,385.00p +1.36%
BG Group (BG.) 1,060.00p +1.34%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,190.00p +1.02%
Kingfisher (KGF) 304.90p +0.93%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
Royal Mail (RMG) 422.50p -1.68%
Centrica (CNA) 289.00p -1.67%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,078.00p -0.83%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,160.00p -0.58%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 244.00p -0.41%
Prudential (PRU) 1,500.50p -0.40%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,753.00p -0.40%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,915.00p -0.31%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,561.00p -0.26%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,334.00p -0.21%