Coutts-London close: Stocks pare gains ahead of policy decisions
(ENP Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ENP Newswire - 07 March 2013
Release date- 06032013 - London close: Stocks pare gains ahead of policy decisions.
After a solid rise early on, the FTSE 100 had trimmed gains by the close of trade on Wednesday as investors took profits after stocks hit fresh multi-year highs the day before.
Markets across Europe finished mixed this afternoon, slipping from the best levels of the day 'as caution once again tempers the outright bullishness of the last couple of days,' according to Senior Market Analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.
The Footsie finished yesterday's session at 6,432, a level not seen since late 2007 before the financial crisis ripped through stock markets worldwide. On Wall Street last night, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 14,254, the highest level in its 116-year history.
A better-than-expected reading of US services activity and a pledge by China to hit its growth targets this year boosted markets on Tuesday. Meanwhile, dovish comments by members of the Federal Reserve earlier in the week lifted hopes that the US will continue with quantitative easing for some time yet.
However, it appears that markets were pausing for breath this afternoon ahead of policy decisions from the Bank of England and European Central Bank expected tomorrow afternoon.
Speculation has increased over the last month about changes to policy from both sides so investors are likely to sit on their hands and refrain from taking risk until someone makes a move.
FTSE 100: Vodafone soars on VZW speculation
Speculation about a deal with American part-owner Verizon (VZ) lifted telecoms giant Vodafone higher today after Bloomberg reported that the two parties had held talks as recently as December and had discussed a possible merger. A buy-out or a partial sale of Vodafone's 45% stake in the Verizon Wireless (VZW) joint venture is also thought to be an option.
Richard Curr, the Head of Dealing at Prime Markets said this morning that if the stake is sold off, 'it will provide the group with the firepower for further acquisitions and potential growth in emerging markets'.
International energy services company Wood Group was in demand as HSBC upgraded the stock to 'overweight' a day after it posted a 20% rise in revenue from continuing operations in 2012.
Insurance group Admiral rose strongly after lifting its dividend by 20% following a 15% rise in pre-tax profit in 2012.
Industrial manufacturing conglomerate Melrose also gained after seeing revenues rise by a half in 2012, helped by last year's acquisition of gas metering group Elster.
Meanwhile, leading the downside were BHP Billiton, CRH, Rio Tinto and TUI Travel, which were all trading lower after going ex-dividend today.
Standard Chartered retreated one day after impressing with its full-year results, which were described by an analyst at Investec as 'reassuringly robust'.
Home credit business International Personal Finance rocketed after reporting a 9.0% rise in revenues in 2012. The company also said that it plans to expand its footprint with new market entries into Bulgaria and Lithuania in 2013.
Canaccord Genuity upgraded the stock to 'buy' this morning after raising its forecasts 'to reflect the strong underlying growth and positive foreign exchange rates'.
Student accommodation firm Unite rose after more than doubled its dividend for 2012 after seeing profits soar in 2012.
Regus shares retreated lower on Wednesday after a strong rise the previous day on the back of a 9.2% rise in revenue to GBP1.2bn. The group, which provides flexible workplaces, reported that operating profit rose by 66% to GBP90.2m and total overheads increased 4.1% at constant currency.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 180.00p +6.76%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,334.00p +5.29%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 853.50p +4.34%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 888.50p +2.90%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 267.10p +2.73%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 166.00p +2.03%
IMI (IMI) 1,262.00p +1.77%
ITV (ITV) 127.20p +1.68%
Tesco (TSCO) 378.15p +1.60%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,500.00p +1.48%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
CRH (CRH) 1,450.00p -4.23%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,777.00p -3.29%
Evraz (EVR) 253.50p -3.28%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 555.00p -3.06%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,064.00p -2.83%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,385.00p -2.37%
Hammerson (HMSO) 514.00p -2.10%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,369.00p -2.02%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 51.02p -1.96%
Barclays (BARC) 302.15p -1.72%
FTSE 250 - Risers
International Personal Finance (IPF) 473.40p +16.49%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 31.64p +6.21%
Unite Group (UTG) 309.70p +5.38%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 681.50p +4.44%
Bumi (BUMI) 319.00p +3.64%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 211.20p +3.38%
Morgan Crucible Co (MGCR) 298.00p +3.11%
Hunting (HTG) 931.50p +2.93%
Dialight (DIA) 1,345.00p +2.67%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 130.70p +2.59%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Petropavlovsk (POG) 274.50p -5.12%
Regus (RGU) 143.50p -4.21%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 85.45p -3.77%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 192.50p -3.31%
Supergroup (SGP) 624.50p -2.73%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 350.00p -2.67%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 201.40p -2.56%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 556.00p -2.54%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 52.00p -2.35%
Hays (HAS) 97.70p -2.30%
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