Date: Wednesday 09 May 2012
- Weir and Sage fall heavily
- ITV, Sainsbury, Glencore higher after updates
- Footsie hits new YTD lows on euro concerns
London's blue chip index had sunk to levels not seen since late December by Wednesday lunchtime, as political uncertainty in the Eurozone continues to cloud the outlook for the global economy.
Stocks across Europe were being sold off today, with Spain's IBEX 35 benchmark down over 3%. By midday in London, US stock futures were also pointing to a weak start on Wall Street as euro area politics fuelled concerns over the global economic recovery.
Yesterday's sell-off was spark by the ongoing worries surrounding the political situation in Greece. Antonis Samaras from the Conservative New Democracy failed to form a new government after elections at the weekend. This now means that Alexis Tsipras from the left-wing Syriza party has now been given the task of crafting a coalition. He is expected to reject the tough austerity measures agreed as part of the country's €240bn bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Tsipras is expected to meet with Samaras and former Finance Minister (and Pasok part leader) Evangelos Venizelos later this evening. "He [Tsipras] interprets, with unbelievable arrogance, the election result as a mandate to drag the country into chaos," Samaras has said. "I hope Mr Tsipras will have come to his senses by the time we meet."
The rejection of the austerity package "would effectively lead to a default as early as next month, followed by Greece leaving the Eurozone. The effect this could have on Spain is the most concerning given their struggling banking system following the bursting of the housing bubble," said analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari this morning.
Engineering giant Weir Group said that strong first quarter trading in its minerals and industrial businesses made up for a plunge in orders in its oil and gas division. Order input fell 26% on a like-for-like basis in the company's oil and gas division, which the firm put down to rapid changes in the pressure pumping market.
Business software group Sage was also a heavy faller after saying that a strategic switch to subscription revenues, plus difficulties in Europe, have constrained growth in the six months to the end of March.
Ex-dividend stocks were also limiting gains for the Footsie today. Aberdeen Asset Management, Randgold Resources, G4S and Rexam were all trading without the right to their latest dividends.
Terrestrial broadcaster ITV was performing well after saying that its first-half net advertising revenues will be ahead of the market, thanks to an expected boost from the Euro 2012 football tournament.
Underlying profit before tax from supermarket titan Sainsbury came in bang in line with expectations, while the full-year dividend is a little more generous than anticipated. Shares jumped early on.
Commodities producer and marketer Glencore International rose after it said that all of its major growth projects remained on schedule and within budget in the first quarter of 2012. The company also said it expects its merger with Xstrata to be completed by the third quarter.
Drugs group GlaxoSmithKline was in the red after going hostile in its bid for US biopharmaceutical firm HGS.
First quarter earnings at satellite communications firm Inmarsat were up a touch after strong demand at its maritime unit. For the three months ended 31 March 2012 total EBITDA rose 1% to $205m while total revenue increased 6% to $237m. Maritime revenue was up 7.2% at $95.4m.
Airline easyJet's interim losses were lower than expected, helped by a increased revenues and tight control of costs. Loss before tax for the six months to the end of March narrowed year-on-year from £153m to £112m, while revenues rose 15.7% from £1,266m to £1,465m. Shares rose early on.
Egyptian gold miner Centamin has revealed a significant drop in production in the first quarter after strike action hit its main Sukari operation, but shares rose after the firm still maintained its full-year output guidance.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ITV (ITV) 83.45p +3.34%
Glencore International (GLEN) 399.40p +1.89%
BT Group (BT.A) 218.50p +1.86%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,103.00p +1.29%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 305.20p +1.29%
Man Group (EMG) 83.05p +0.73%
Compass Group (CPG) 632.00p +0.72%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,066.00p +0.66%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 172.30p +0.47%
Capita (CPI) 658.50p +0.30%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,490.00p -6.64%
Sage Group (SGE) 264.90p -4.78%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 258.40p -4.12%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 22.65p -3.45%
Polymetal International (POLY) 780.00p -3.29%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,470.00p -3.10%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,566.00p -3.03%
G4S (GFS) 261.60p -3.00%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,353.00p -2.94%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,005.00p -2.90%
FTSE 250 - Risers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 356.90p +5.47%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 470.70p +3.56%
Rank Group (RNK) 114.70p +3.33%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 75.20p +3.01%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 120.30p +2.21%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 128.80p +2.14%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 508.50p +1.50%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 317.30p +1.44%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 118.50p +1.28%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 164.50p +1.23%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Exillon Energy (EXI) 114.50p -8.40%
Invensys (ISYS) 198.40p -6.94%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 516.50p -6.26%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 106.10p -6.11%
Hiscox Ltd. (HSX) 375.20p -5.32%
Hunting (HTG) 787.50p -5.23%
CSR (CSR) 211.70p -4.60%
Cape (CIU) 343.90p -4.55%
Lamprell (LAM) 308.10p -4.02%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 441.70p -3.98%
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