Date: Tuesday 18 Sep 2012
A late rally which briefly looked like it might see Footsie venture into positive territory for the first time all day was nipped in the bud right at the death.
Equities had a dull but fretful day, which started with concerns over China becoming involved in a trade war with the US and a military war with Japan, and ended with investors partly comforted about developments in Spain, where this morning's government debt auction went about as well as could be expected.
With Spain feeling increased pressure to request assistance, the Treasury was able to issue 12 and 18-month bills for €4.6bn, more than the top end of the €3.5 - €4.5bn target.
18-month bills were issued for €1.02bn (maturity: February 21, 2014) at a yield of 3.072%, lower than the previous 3.335%. 12-month bills were issued for €3.56bn (maturity: September 20, 2013) at a yield of 2.835%, lower than the previous 3.07%.
In the UK, inflation data was in line with forecasts. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation dropped to 2.5% in August, down from 2.6% in July, helped by falls in the price of clothing and footwear, furniture and household equipment, and domestic gas. The consensus estimate had been for a rise of 2.5%.
Sports fashion-wear firm JD Sports is having a few teething problems with the integration of the Black's Leisure store portfolio it acquired a while back. The firm said Blacks had made an initial loss of £10m, as expected, due to a critical lack of stock and unsustainable cost base.
The retailer's stricken rival, JJB Sports, shot up on reports that a new potential bidder may have thrown its hat into the ring for the company which put itself up for sale last month.
According to Sky News, privately owned Stafford Group, which owns a sporting chain in Ireland, is interested in acquiring JJB.
Elsewhere on the high street, department store group Debenhams saw like-for-like (LFL) sales rise 3.7% in the final 10 weeks of its financial year, which ran to September 1st. For the full-year, LFL sales were up 1.6%. Despite the sales figures being better than expected, the company did not increase profit guidance for the year, which may account for why the shares closed little changed.
Results from house-building and construction firm Galliford Try were well received. The group saw profits soar last year, paving the way for its full-year dividend pay-out to almost double, from 16p to 30p.
Financial and legal training provider Wilmington moved to the head of the class after reporting increased profits as it successfully chased higher margin work over the 12 months to the end of June.
Broker downgrades put insurance titan Aviva on the skids, pushing the stock's dividend yield beyond seven per cent; BofA Merrill Lynch has downgraded Aviva to 'under-perform', although the target price has been raised to 360p from 330p, while Deutsche bank has moved to a 'hold' recommendation and edged up the target price from 360p to 375p.
Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco did well after Nomura lifted its price targets on both this morning. Berenberg has initiated coverage of household goods colossus Unilever at buy.
Gold exploration company Condor is celebrating a mineral resource of 2.41m ounces of gold equivalent at its wholly-owned La India Project in Nicaragua, with gold up 46 per cent to 2.375m oz, well ahead of the year-end target of 2.0m gold.
The industrial dispute at Lonmin's South African operations drags on but there have been developments. Lonmin workers have been offered an additional one-time payment in exchange for them returning to work at the platinum mining company on Wednesday.
A letter written by Lonmin directors to its workers is believed to have offered a 1,500 rand ($182, 140 euro) bonus in addition to an offer for an increased monthly wage of 1,875 rand ($227). The bonus will only be given if workers return on Wednesday.
Things are not going so well for Royal Dutch Shell. After announcing delays to its offshore exploration programme in Alaska on Monday, reports on Tuesday suggest Royal Dutch Shell is also struggling with production targets in Iraq.
Oil prices remain on the slide, despite the White House quashing rumours that strategic oil reserves may be released. The most active futures contract for Brent crude was off 30 cents to $113.47 a barrel.
Gold for December delivery rose $2.10 to $1,772.70 an ounce, reversing losses seen in the morning.
Investors nibbled away at gilts after the inflation data, with the benchmark 10-year gilt's yield easing 5/100 of a percentage point at 1.88%.
FTSE 100 - Risers
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,243.00p +2.82%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 707.50p +2.76%
Diageo (DGE) 1,718.00p +2.05%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,362.00p +1.90%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,103.00p +1.38%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 3,627.00p +1.31%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,708.00p +1.07%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 175.40p +1.01%
National Grid (NG.) 685.50p +0.96%
Pennon Group (PNN) 739.50p +0.75%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aviva (AV.) 344.90p -3.98%
GKN (GKN) 228.30p -3.63%
ICAP (IAP) 338.10p -3.48%
IMI (IMI) 931.50p -3.17%
BP (BP.) 438.95p -2.78%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 267.10p -2.66%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 38.85p -2.50%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 742.00p -2.43%
Prudential (PRU) 821.50p -2.32%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,411.00p -2.29%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 592.50p +4.13%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 690.00p +2.68%
Genus (GNS) 1,432.00p +2.29%
PayPoint (PAY) 746.50p +2.26%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 90.65p +2.20%
Carpetright (CPR) 672.00p +1.97%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 170.90p +1.73%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.7 +1.39%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 122.40p +1.24%
BH Global Ltd. GBP Shares (BHGG) 1,170.00p +1.04%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 534.00p -6.07%
Laird (LRD) 229.80p -5.78%
Homeserve (HSV) 227.90p -5.59%
Victrex (VCT) 1,371.00p -5.38%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 69.70p -5.30%
Inchcape (INCH) 376.80p -4.44%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 226.50p -4.31%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 208.20p -4.19%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 215.30p -4.01%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 50.90p -3.96%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
AEA Technology Group (AAT) 0.090p +20.00%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 71.50p +8.33%
Skyepharma (SKP) 100.00p +5.26%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Pace (PIC) 159.25p -4.21%
Emblaze Ltd. (BLZ) 46.00p -3.66%
Promethean World (PRW) 23.00p -2.13%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 135.00p -2.00%
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 147.00p -2.00%
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