Date: Monday 28 May 2012
- Gains trimmed by the end of trade
- Newsflow improves in Greece; New Democracy support increases
- Spanish concerns weigh on sentiment
London blue chips finished broadly flat on Monday as the initial optimism surrounding the Greek elections was outweighed in afternoon trade by ongoing concerns about Spain's finances.
Several opinion polls published this weekend showed the pro-bailout party New Democracy as the favourite to win the elections in Greece on June 17th. Specifically, five separate polls show New Democracy leading by a margin of 0.5 to 5.7 points. This would put the group ahead of the radical left wing Syriza party that opposes the terms of the second bailout signed with the “troika” (name given to the combination of the EU, the IMF and the ECB).
"The lead is only slim and could change before the elections on June 17th however this is looking very good for the Eurozone as it shows that Tsipras’ promises of rejecting austerity while staying in the euro are starting the wear thin with the Greek public and with around 85% opposed to leaving the euro we could see New Democracy’s lead grow," said Alpari analyst Craig Erlam.
However, concerns about Spain were also in focus today after the government was asked for €19bn in aid from troubled financial institution Bankia in order to strengthen its solvency. Rumours of further re-capitalisations across the sector were also doing the rounds. The yield on a Spanish 10-year bond jumped 16.8 basis points to 6.479% today. The STOXX Europe 600 Banks index finished 1.08% lower.
Equity markets are closed in Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Switzerland and the US today for a bank holiday.
Shares in British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG) fell after the president of Bankia (which holds a 12% interest in IAG) said the bank would sell assets to raise much needed funds. There were also reports that Madrid will look to privatise stakes in some state companies, which would include selling its stakes in companies such as IAG.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Russia's third-largest oil producer, TNK-BP, resigned today, with sources citing a breakdown in the relationship between BP and its joint venture partner, AAR. Fridman's resignation "represents a further breakdown in the relationship between TNK-BP's shareholders," one source close to AAR was reported to have said on Monday, adding that AAR has lost trust in the British firm. BP's shares were down nearly 2% by the close.
Retailers were firmly out of favour today with Kingfisher, Tesco and Sainsbury among the worst performers.
Heading the other way were miners with copper giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton tracking tracking copper prices higher on the back of falling stockpiles in China and favourable comments by Citigroup; Citi analyst Heath Jansen this morning adjusted his short-term view on the copper industry from bearish to neutral.
Outsourcing group Capita was on the up after UBS upgraded the stock from neutral to buy on the back of improving trading momentum combined with a depressed valuation. Aggreko was also benefitting from an upgrade from AlphaValue from sell to add.
Engineering software company AVEVA surged on the second-tier index after it reported record profits for the 12 months ended March 21st as the firm capitalised on growing demand from deep-water oil and gas exploration.
Satellite group Inmarsat rose strongly after Jefferies upgraded its rating on the stock from hold to buy, saying that it now has greater visibility on the issues cited behind the August 2011 profit warning.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,614.00p +3.99%
ITV (ITV) 78.95p +3.07%
Xstrata (XTA) 939.80p +2.98%
Capita (CPI) 629.00p +2.95%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,432.00p +2.65%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,857.50p +2.24%
Whitbread (WTB) 1,860.00p +2.14%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,401.00p +2.11%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 501.50p +2.10%
Rexam (REX) 400.70p +2.09%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 137.10p -2.70%
BP (BP.) 399.70p -1.88%
Kingfisher (KGF) 274.90p -1.79%
Tesco (TSCO) 304.50p -1.63%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 199.50p -1.43%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,680.00p -1.23%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 691.50p -1.07%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,562.00p -0.95%
National Grid (NG.) 678.50p -0.88%
SSE (SSE) 1,348.00p -0.81%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Aveva Group (AVV) 1,638.00p +10.60%
Cape (CIU) 225.70p +10.10%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 74.00p +8.74%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 14.97p +7.01%
Ruspetro (RPO) 157.10p +5.72%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 231.40p +5.57%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,422.00p +5.18%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 216.20p +4.75%
Genus (GNS) 1,247.00p +4.61%
Perform Group (PER) 345.10p +4.58%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Essar Energy (ESSR) 109.00p -4.89%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 486.50p -3.66%
PayPoint (PAY) 606.00p -2.26%
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 120.60p -1.71%
Beazley (BEZ) 135.00p -1.68%
Britvic (BVIC) 340.80p -1.50%
Computacenter (CCC) 353.00p -1.34%
Cranswick (CWK) 800.00p -1.23%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 31.13p -1.17%
ITE Group (ITE) 195.00p -1.02%
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