Date: Thursday 24 May 2012
- Stocks surge after yesterday's heavy falls despite Eurozone travails
- China, Eurozone PMIs disappoint
- UK contracts more than expected in Q1
Equity markets across Europe on Thursday were seemingly ignoring a barrage of disappointing economic data and last night's underwhelming EU summit, as stocks attempted to claw back after yesterday's heavy sell-off.
The FTSE 100 lost 137 points, or 2.5% on Wednesday, as investors took profits in 'riskier' sectors such as banking and mining as speculation mounted over an exit of Greece from the Eurozone.
"Rising economic uncertainty in Europe and the lack of a policy response are proving too much for the market to handle,” writes Barclays in one report, while analysts at Commerzbank said that “the growing uncertainty is poison for the economy.”
The outcome of last night's informal meeting of the European Council was widely expected, with leaders reiterating their stance that they want to keep Greece in the Eurozone as long as it meets the terms of its bailout. The 'eurobonds' issue was a contentious topic, with French and German leaders clashing over the joint debt sales. According to Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, eurobonds “didn’t find much support, particularly in the German speaking area, but found a certain enthusiasm in the French speaking area.”
"No one know[s] the true cost of a 'Grexit', thought at the moment to be around €1 trillion ," said analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
Economic indicators were painting a gloomy picture of the global economy today: Chinese manufacturing slipped further into contraction, Germany's IFO business index fell sharply, while PMI data across the Eurozone came in weak.
Closer to home, the Office for National Statistics revealed that first-quarter estimate of gross domestic product in the UK were revised lower, from -0.2% to -0.3%. Economists had been expecting the initial estimate to be confirmed, but as many of them had been extremely sceptical about the ONS's figures in the first place, that may not count for much.
Commodities prices improved on Thursday morning, buoying the share prices of some blue-chip miners and oil stocks, including Randgold, Vedanta, Amec, BP and BG Group. Not all miners joined in though with Xstrata and Glencore registering slight losses.
Oil titan Shell was on the up after extending the offer deadline for AIM-listed Cove Energy after its previously recommended offer was trumped by Thai firm PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) on Wednesday.
Financials were among the best performers, rebounding after bearing the brunt of risk aversion in yesterday's session. Old Mutual, Standard Chartered, Admiral, RBS, Schroders and HSBC were on the rise.
Brewing group SABMiller edged higher after mixed full-year results as strong growth in Latin America and Africa offset declines in crisis-torn Europe. Group revenue in the year to March 31st rose 11% to $31,388m.
United Utilities was higher after saying that it has seen a marked improvement in customer satisfaction in the last year or so, and it is on track to meet regulatory out-performance targets.
International mobile operator Cable & Wireless Communications jumped over 10% after underlying earnings came in at $901m in the year to the end of March, better than the $887m estimate. Investors didn't seem too phased that the group expects to halve its dividend in the current year.
Food wholesaler Booker was also in demand after saying that increased customer numbers and higher internet sales helped revenue increase by 7.3% in the 52 weeks to March 23rd.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,065.00p +5.81%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 979.50p +2.94%
Amec (AMEC) 1,004.00p +2.92%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 637.00p +2.74%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,346.50p +2.67%
Prudential (PRU) 681.00p +2.64%
BP (BP.) 404.30p +2.64%
BG Group (BG.) 1,261.00p +2.56%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 21.56p +2.47%
Standard Life (SL.) 206.90p +2.43%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Glencore International (GLEN) 338.05p -1.63%
Rexam (REX) 393.00p -1.55%
Xstrata (XTA) 912.50p -1.48%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,019.00p -1.26%
IMI (IMI) 899.50p -0.55%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 240.30p -0.41%
Evraz (EVR) 309.50p -0.35%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 468.70p -0.13%
GKN (GKN) 184.00p -0.05%
International Power (IPR) 413.50p -0.02%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 32.80p +16.89%
Booker Group (BOK) 77.60p +6.30%
PayPoint (PAY) 629.00p +3.97%
Yule Catto & Co (YULC) 199.00p +3.86%
Investec (INVP) 326.20p +3.72%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 150.30p +3.44%
CSR (CSR) 214.90p +3.37%
Britvic (BVIC) 352.50p +3.28%
SDL (SDL) 692.00p +3.13%
Michael Page International (MPI) 363.50p +3.03%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Homeserve (HSV) 145.00p -4.04%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 71.80p -4.01%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 125.10p -2.87%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 75.85p -2.51%
Spirit Pub Company (SPRT) 51.00p -1.92%
Bumi (BUMI) 401.90p -1.71%
Cobham (COB) 222.00p -1.51%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 319.60p -1.48%
Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) 399.90p -1.43%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 406.70p -1.43%
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