FTSE 100: This morning’s risers and fallers
The FTSE 100 had lost around 1.9% of its value over the last three trading sessions as a mixed reaction to US economic data and ongoing geopolitical tensions saw market participants scale back their appetite for risk.
However, after closing at 6,679.18 on Friday – the Footsie’s lowest finish since 10 July – the index opened 0.3% higher at 6,696 on Monday.
Developments in Portugal were helping to repair market sentiment this weekend after the central bank unveiled plans to save struggling lender Banco Espirito Santo (BES). BES will be split into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ banks as part of a €4.9bn rescue.
Nevertheless, upside was limited in early trading with geopolitics still firmly in the spotlight on the back of continued battles in Gaza and Ukraine.
A seven-hour “humanitarian ceasefire” has been announced by Israel in Gaza after heavy fighting at the weekend. United Nations head Ban Ki-moon said that an Israeli strike near a school in Gaza on Sunday was a “moral outrage and a criminal act”.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defence minister Valeriy Heletey has claimed that his army is gaining ground against pro-Russian rebels and there would be a victory “very soon”.
Economic data was thin on the ground on Monday with the UK construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) likely to be the biggest indicator of the day. The PMI is forecast to slip from 62.6 to 62 in July.
Over the weekend, the ‘official’ China non-manufacturing PMI for July slipped from 55 to 54.2.
Corporate earnings come in mixed
Product testing, inspection and certification group Intertek rose after saying that organic revenue growth should pick up in the second half “as one-off effects annualise and as we continue to see good growth in other areas of our portfolio”. Financial results for the first half were weaker than last year due to currency movements and continued headwinds in the minerals and energy-related businesses.
Aerospace components manufacturer Senior fell as it reported flat revenues for the first half at £400.4m. Profits before tax however grew 22% to £45.1m while free cash flows were 16% ahead on the comparable period of 2013.
Chemicals group Alent impressed after reporting a “solid first-half performance” with adjusted profits up 14% at constant exchange rates. The firm said it saw a modest improvement in its key markets, “underpinned by early signs of improved global consumer confidence”.
Data centre provider Telecity dropped in early trading after trimming its revenue guidance slightly on the back of adverse currency movements. An an organic basis, however, the growth outlook was maintained.
Ground engineering group Keller rose after saying that profits jumped by over a fifth in the first half with all of its four divisions achieving strong revenue growth despite adverse currency movements.
HSBC is likely to be in focus today. It is expected to report an 11% drop in first-half profit when it releases its results later this morning.
Real estate group British Land edged higher after completing its third letting in three months at Marble Arch House in Central London with NERA Economic Consulting agreeing to rent out the third floor. The company said that the latest deal puts the building, which was bought and redeveloped in 2011, close to being 50% let.
Medical devices maker Smith & Nephew, which impressed the market on Friday with its interim results, was pulling back as Beaufort Securities downgraded the stock to ‘hold’.
FTSE 100 – Risers
BG Group (BG.) 1,234.00p +2.11%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 422.00p +1.86%
Glencore (GLEN) 360.65p +1.26%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,388.50p +1.15%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,922.00p +1.05%
Rexam (REX) 505.50p +0.90%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,429.00p +0.88%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,383.50p +0.86%
Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ (RDSB) 2,550.00p +0.83%
Aviva (AV.) 497.00p +0.67%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 881.00p -2.11%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 344.90p -1.88%
Royal Mail (RMG) 421.40p -1.57%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,094.00p -1.53%
Carnival (CCL) 2,114.00p -1.49%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,696.00p -1.40%
Standard Life (SL.) 360.50p -1.37%
Schroders (SDR) 2,298.00p -1.33%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,244.00p -1.19%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,283.00p -1.16%