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FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers

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UK stocks opened broadly flat on Monday with markets pausing for breath after hitting a two-month high last week.

The FTSE 100 was trading down just 0.04 per cent at 6,748 in early deals, with oilfield services group Petrofac providing a drag after a profit warning.

The index finished Friday at 6,750.76, a closing level not surpassed since 22 September when it reached 6,773.63.

Global equity markets jumped on Friday after a surprise interest-rate cut from the People’s Bank of China in an attempt to avert a sharp slowdown in growth.

Chinese authorities are reportedly set to once again cut their interest rates amid widespread concerns over a drop in prices. According to an unnamed senior economist quoted by Reuters, the country’s “top leaders have changed their views” and the central bank has now moved its focus towards broad-based stimulus.

Monday’s session looks to be a quiet one in terms of economic data, with the German IFO survey being the only major release. The business climate index rose to 104.7 from 103.2 previously, surprising analysts who had expected a small fall. Both the current assessment and expectations indices also unexpectedly improved.

However, looking ahead to the rest of the week, “it looks like that there will be no sign of a breather for markets with a packed macro calendar to look forward to”, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank.

There will be gross domestic product estimates in both the US and UK over the coming days, as well as inflation figures in the Eurozone and a host of data from Japan.

Investors will also be looking ahead to Thursday’s meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), where members will face a tough decision over whether to cut output in the wake of a 30 per cent slump in crude prices since June.

Friends Life leads financials higher, Petrofac plummets

Insurer Friends Life jumped 7.5 per cent after agreeing to a £5.6bn takeover from larger rival Aviva after the market’s closed on Friday. The deal is expected to create the UK’s “leading insurance, savings and asset management business by number of customers”, the companies said. Aviva’s shares were trading firmly in the red.

Friends Life also announced on Monday that it would be suspending its £317m share buyback following the offer.

Others in the financial sector were also performing well, including banking peers RBS, Lloyds and Barclays. Shares in London Stock Exchange were making decent gains after analysts at Citigroup raised their rating on the stock to ‘buy’ and hiked their target price from 1,750p to 2,400p.

Petrofac‘s share price dropped by nearly a quarter after the group scaled back its profit assumptions, saying that depressed oil prices and the timing of deliveries will result in a weaker bottom line. The company said net profits for 2014 will be at the lower end of the guided $580m-600m range, but would fall to just $500m in 2015. It had previously predicted “strong earnings growth” next year.

Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton was lower after saying it would implement more cuts to its capital expenditure as well as reorganise its management ranks. The group said it would trim $600m from its planned capital spending to $14.2bn in the 2014-15 financial year and by $1bn to $13bn in the following 12 months.

Market Movers
techMARK 2,890.38 -0.12%
FTSE 100 6,748.25 -0.04%
FTSE 250 15,678.81 -0.08%

FTSE 100 – Risers
Friends Life Group Limited (FLG) 373.90p +7.54%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 2,166.00p +3.00%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 79.41p +1.17%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,063.00p +0.95%
Barclays (BARC) 238.50p +0.95%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 380.60p +0.77%
Old Mutual (OML) 202.90p +0.74%
Carnival (CCL) 2,636.00p +0.73%
BT Group (BT.A) 382.50p +0.66%
National Grid (NG.) 937.50p +0.64%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 902.50p -24.35%
Aviva (AV.) 519.00p -3.71%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 985.50p -2.62%
Fresnillo (FRES) 744.00p -2.55%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,350.50p -2.14%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,405.00p -2.02%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,984.00p -1.91%
Royal Mail (RMG) 423.60p -1.63%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,636.00p -1.56%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 720.00p -1.44%

Source: ShareCast

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