Date: Friday 25 May 2012
-Miners erase gains for Footsie
-German consumer confidence holds steady
-Greek polls show uncertainty
With miners extending losses, the Footsie had slipped to below where it started by Friday lunchtime, as the uncertain future of Greece continues to cloud the outlook for the global economy.
Stocks rose early on after GfK said that its forward-looking German consumer confidence index held steady at 5.7 points for June, unchanged from May. "Consumer sentiment in Germany is stable going into the summer," GfK said. "Despite recessionary tendencies in Europe and rising uncertainty from the debt crisis, people see the economy growing."
"Investors appear to be trading under the assumption that no news is good news in the euro area, however gains have been small highlighting the uncertainty that is still very present in the market," said analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari this morning.
Furthermore, gains were pared in mid-morning trade as reports emerged of the latest polls in Greece, showing that its far from clear who is winning the political battle in Athens. Those survey results showed Syriza (the party against the austerity package tied to Greece's bailout) leading with 30% while New Democracy was following close behind with 26%. Pasok has also edged forward to 15.5%, while most of the other parties have registered a fall in their popularity.
Troubled Spanish lender Bankia’s decision to postpone the release of its recapitalisation plans until Saturday may have contributed to market jitters this morning, according to some analysts. Spanish market regulator CNMV suspended trading in Bankia's shares this morning due to "extenuating circumstances that could impair normal trading in the shares".
In other news, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti has claimed that "Europe could soon see eurobonds". Monti said that "there are more countries in favour of the proposal than against it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to oppose the measure as it insists that countries must first become fiscally responsible. Monti says that Germany would eventually change its mind.
Mining stocks were firmly out of favour this morning on reports that China's banks could miss their 2012 loan targets, exacerbating concerns over a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy which is a source of strong demand for commodities. Fresnillo, Randgold, Vedanta and ENRC were among the worst performers.
Insurance group Aviva was in demand after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the stock from underperform to outperform. Analysts at the French bank said that Aviva had “significantly underperformed the insurance sector over the last three months and market expectations are limited."
United Utilities was extending gains made yesterday when it said 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. Nomura this morning upped its target price on the stock from 695p to 715p.
Investors of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza owner InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) seemed to welcome the news that former Unilever CEO Patrick Cescau would be replacing IHG Chairman David Webster at the end of 2012.
Cape, the energy and mineral resources services provider, plummeted after it revealed that its full-year profits will be held back by a £14m one-off charge related to its GL3-Z LNG (liquified natural gas) Project in Arzew, Algeria. Revenue guidance is unchanged.
Coal miner Bumi was also lower after Nomura cut its target price on the stock, citing lower assumed coal prices.
Construction and maintenance firm Interserve was wanted after announcing two contracts in the north of England, worth a combined £200m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,108.00p +2.21%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 349.70p +1.89%
Serco Group (SRP) 526.00p +1.64%
Man Group (EMG) 73.80p +1.51%
Aggreko (AGK) 2,130.00p +1.09%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,895.00p +0.96%
Aviva (AV.) 270.50p +0.93%
Carnival (CCL) 2,080.00p +0.92%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 145.20p +0.83%
SSE (SSE) 1,351.00p +0.82%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,307.00p -2.97%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,523.00p -2.31%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 976.50p -2.30%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,055.00p -2.22%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 26.33p -2.16%
Xstrata (XTA) 915.50p -2.09%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 451.00p -2.08%
Evraz (EVR) 302.90p -1.88%
Glencore International (GLEN) 339.85p -1.78%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,119.00p -1.67%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 15.05p +5.61%
Hiscox Ltd. (HSX) 388.30p +2.72%
BBA Aviation (BBA) 198.90p +2.63%
Logica (LOG) 67.35p +2.59%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 720.50p +2.20%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 259.00p +2.13%
Morgan Crucible Co (MGCR) 268.40p +1.47%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 2,770.00p +1.47%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,492.00p +1.36%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 76.40p +1.33%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Cape (CIU) 207.00p -36.01%
Bumi (BUMI) 371.40p -6.89%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 127.60p -5.55%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 68.65p -4.92%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 31.68p -4.03%
RPC Group (RPC) 366.70p -3.35%
Michael Page International (MPI) 351.10p -3.25%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 63.50p -3.20%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 156.50p -3.16%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 372.80p -3.09%
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