Date: Tuesday 29 May 2012
1630: High Street sales are on the up and business sentiment is growing, according to a survey from the CBI out today. Elsewhere, the Land Registry reported that house prices in England and Wales tumbled after the temporary holiday in stamp duty for first time buyers was withdrawn, with the average price of a house in England and Wales falling 0.3% in April to £160,417. Meanwhile, the BofE announced it was taking measures to guard against an exit from the euro by Greece or any other countries. Looking abroad, China reportedly does not have plans to introduce economic stimulus measures like it did when the financial crisis started, while in Spain retail sales have plummeted. In UK companies, miners spent much of the day in the top 10, while banking giant RBS slumped into the bottom spot. The FTSE 100 closed up 35 points at 5,391.
1603: The FTSE 100 has rallied and is now trading near its highest levels of the day, up 37 points at 5,393, even though US consumer confidence data disappointed. The Conference Board’s confidence index fell from a revised 68.7 to 64.9 in May; analysts were looking for a rise to just under 70. US equity markets have also held on to gains in spite of the disappointment.
1413: Buying has picked up as US stock futures point to a stronger start on Wall Street in just over a quarter of an hour’s time. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index was unchanged in March, which had little reaction to pre-market trade. The focus seems to be on the upcoming confidence data due out at 10:00 Eastern time (15:00 London time); analysts are expecting a slight rise in confidence in May. FTSE 100 up 22 points at 5,378.
1259: UK shares are now bumping along the bottom of today’s trading range ahead of the release of two economic indicators, this afternoon, Stateside. Worth noting, some market commentary holds that speculation regarding possible new economic stimulus measures in China has come off the boil in afternoon trading. As well, and despite what on the surface appears to be calm in financial markets today, underlying tensions have been evident in periphery debt markets. Quite striking in this regard are the sharply divergent views between experts’ views on what the most likely outcome for the Greek situation is: permanence within the single currency or ‘exit.’ “The situation is eerily similar, at least sentiment-wise, to what was felt before the collapse of Lehman Brothers,” comment analysts at Digital Look. FTSE 100 up 14 to 5,370.
1145: Footsie is barely changed ahead of the resumption of trade Wall Street after yesterday's Memorial Day holiday. Spread betting quotes suggest the S and P 500 will open around 6 or 7 points higher. Banking stocks are weighing on the index, with Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking and Barclays among the five worst performers among Footsie constituents. FTSE 100 is down 4 at 5,351.
1032: The Bank of England’s chief economist Spencer Dale reportedly told the BBC Radio Scotland that a second round of quantitative easing (QE) will take time to have an impact and that inflation needs to fall further. FTSE 100 up 10 to 5,366.
0911: Footsie edged back above 5400 briefly on the strength of miners, which are in demand on rumours of accelerated Chinese growth after Shanghai Securities News said that Chinese banks have 'sped up' lending as the government fast-tracked the approval of infrastructure investments. All but seven of the Footsie's constituents are in positive territory and it is noticeable that most of the laggards are defensive favourites such as supermarkets Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury, and high yield plays such as United Utilities and Vodafone. Hitting the 5400 level just before 09:00 triggered a wave of selling, with the index retreating quickly thereafter, though it remains up 21 at 5,378.
0812: It is a familiar story this morning: commodity plays go up, Footsie goes up. Somehow, two travel related stocks - airline IAG and hotels operator IHG - have muscled their way into the list of top ten performing blue-chips alongside commodity-driven stocks such as steel giant Evraz, miners Kazakhmys, Antofagasta and Fresnillo, and oilfield support services titan Petrofac. Builders' merchant Wolseley is the worst performer after a bigger than expected slow-down in top-line growth in the group's third quarter. In the mid-caps, shares in bakery chain Greggs are going like hot cakes after the government's embarrassing turn-over on the so-called 'pasty tax'. FTSE 100 is up 32 at 5,388.
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