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FTSE: This morning’s risers and fallers

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The FTSE 100 surpassed the 6,800 mark in early trading on Thursday, a level not seen in over two months, tracking gains made on Wall Street as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve's decision to continue tapering stimulus.

As was widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee chose to reduce its quantitative easing programme by a further $10bn a month, taking monthly asset purchases to $45bn.

Despite data earlier in the day showing that the US economy almost stagnated in the first quarter – gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by just 0.1% – US markets finished moderately higher, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record high.

The FTSE 100 was trading 0.4% higher at 6,806 this morning; it has not closed above this level since February 28th when it finished at 6,809.7. Gains were helped by well-received quarterly statements from the likes of BSkyB, Lloyds, BG Group and Schroders.

“The FTSE 100 has made it to the 6,800 round number mark helped by a Fed statement and continued taper which maintained confidence in the US recovery following a weak GDP report,” said Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets.

Investors were taking a bullish stance ahead of a flurry of economic data due out in today’s session, including manufacturing, mortgage approvals and consumer lending figures from the UK, and jobless claims, personal spending and manufacturing indicators from the US.

Overnight, it was revealed that activity in the Chinese manufacturing sector picked up a little in April but came in slightly lower than analysts’ expectations. The government’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index increased to 50.4 last month from 50.3 in March, but under the 50.5 consensus forecast.

BSkyB, Lloyds, BG Group and Schroders gain

Earnings fell 2.4% at BSkyB in the third quarter despite a rise in revenues, but continued investment in connected television services was repaid with better-than-expected new subscriptions, pushing shares higher this morning.

Domestic lender Lloyds rose after saying that underlying profits rose 22% in the first quarter as it continues to expect to apply to regulators in the second half to restart dividend payments.

Profits at oil and gas company BG Group declined in the first quarter despite higher revenues, as lower production volumes and higher costs ate into the bottom line. However, the stock was performing well this morning as it bounced back after weakness earlier in the week.

Fund manager Schroders was also higher as it reported record assets under management in the first quarter, helped by £3.8bn of net new business wins during the period.

Heading the other way was engine maker Rolls-Royce after saying that full-year revenues and profits are likely to be hit by foreign exchange headwinds with underlying results flat.

Scottish engineering group Weir failed to excite as it said trading in the last four months has been in line with expectations. This was helped by a strong performance in the oil and gas and power and industrial divisions.

FTSE 100 – Risers
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 913.50p +3.81%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 78.04p +3.56%
Schroders (SDR) 2,627.00p +2.78%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 305.20p +2.14%
BG Group (BG.) 1,220.50p +1.88%
Barclays (BARC) 256.50p +1.71%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,188.00p +1.54%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,601.00p +1.52%
William Hill (WMH) 360.00p +1.49%
TUI Travel (TT.) 433.70p +1.38%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 324.40p -3.37%
Group (VOD) 218.60p -2.39%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,025.00p -2.38%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,686.00p -1.97%
Tesco (TSCO) 287.95p -1.71%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 777.50p -1.21%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,564.00p -1.14%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 365.60p -1.06%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 911.50p -0.87%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,541.00p -0.63%

Source: ShareCast

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