LONDON (SHARECAST) - - German Constitutional Court approves ESM
techMARK 2,108.87 0.00%
FTSE 100 5,777.05 -0.26%
FTSE 250 11,768.15 -0.10%
- Major events still to come this week
- China's Wen confirms GDP growth
UK stocks are holding slightly lower in early trading on Wednesday although the initial reaction to the German Constitutional Court's (GCC) decision on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has been positive, although with conditions.
Specifically, the GCC has ruled that the parliament must set a cap on liabilities when ratifying the ESM should they be set to go above €190bn. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now expected to speak this morning, possibly followed by Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann later on.
CSU party member Peter Gauweiler had asked the court on Monday to postpone the decision in order to study the European Central Bank's bond purchase plan announced last week. The request was turned down and the decision confirmed today.
The post announcement reaction in risk assets seems to be slightly to the upside. Euro/dollar is at 1.2900, while Spanish 10 year bond yields are falling by 2 basis points to 5.67%.
Nevertheless, analysts have highlighted several other “event-risks” over the next day or two, including debt auctions in Italy and elections in the Netherlands. However, the biggest event of all will undoubtedly be the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) two-day meeting in the US which kicks off today. Sluggish labour figures on Friday have increased hopes that the Fed may move to ease monetary policy further when the meeting concludes on Thursday.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has outlined a draft of the European Banking Union proposals today.
Asian stocks jumped overnight after China's Premier Wen Jiabao reassured that his country would hit its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 7.5% this year.
"It is true that the Chinese economy is under notable downward pressure, but with our efforts to shift our economic model, better allocate resources and implement more reform and opening up, we have the ability to keep the economy in good shape," he told the World Economic Forum. "We will give greater priority to stabilising growth and maintaining the continuity and stability of our policies," he said.
Back in the UK, the Office for National Statistics will publish its labour market data at 09:30. Consensus is forecasting the July ILO unemployment rate unchanged at 8.0% and the claimant count at 0.
Kingfisher drops as profits fall
Wet weather and adverse exchange rates put a dampener on the first-half performance of do-it-yourself retailer Kingfisher, causing shares to slip early on. Sales in the 26 weeks to July 28th were down 3.3% while adjusted pre-tax profits slipped 15.5%. Seymour Pierce downgraded its rating on the stock this morning from 'hold' to 'sell'.
Insurance group Admiral was a heavy faller early on after going ex-dividend. Other FTSE 350 stocks going ex-div today include: 888, Antofagasta, bwin.party, Capita, Cookson, Ladbrokes, Rentokil and Hargreaves Lansdown.
House-builder Barratt Developments was firmly in the red despite revealing a 159.3% rise in pre-tax profit in the year to June 30th. The group signalled its intention to pay a final dividend in respect of the current financial year, but there was no pay-out for the financial year just gone.
Telecoms group Vodafone fell on reports that Verizon Wireless's special dividend may be delayed after people close to the matter said that the US mobile-phone joint venture will not discuss it at an upcoming meeting next week.
Oil and gas group Afren edged higher after saying that it has started drilling at its Simrit-3 well on the East Simrit prospect in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, just 10km east of the successful Simrit-2 well which was drilled a few months back.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sage Group (SGE) 310.20p +1.44%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 37.48p +1.11%
BT Group (BT.A) 229.00p +1.10%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 267.10p +0.91%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,027.00p +0.79%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,096.00p +0.74%
Evraz (EVR) 263.00p +0.73%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,691.00p +0.71%
Amec (AMEC) 1,142.00p +0.71%
Barclays (BARC) 215.00p +0.70%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
ICAP (IAP) 325.80p -3.67%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,905.50p -2.53%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,092.00p -2.41%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 638.50p -2.37%
Wolseley (WOS) 2,640.00p -1.68%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 327.60p -1.03%
BG Group (BG.) 1,258.50p -0.94%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 547.00p -0.91%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,215.00p -0.90%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 786.00p -0.82%
FTSE 250 - Risers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 300.00p +3.81%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 39.43p +3.44%
Diploma (DPLM) 459.70p +2.73%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 633.07p +2.11%
Hiscox Ltd. (HSX) 482.20p +2.10%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 463.70p +2.02%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 198.50p +1.74%
Bumi (BUMI) 291.40p +1.50%
Interserve (IRV) 379.90p +1.50%
Genus (GNS) 1,370.00p +1.48%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ruspetro (RPO) 92.75p -7.25%
Lonmin (LMI) 582.50p -4.66%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 163.00p -3.95%
International Public Partnerships Ltd. (INPP) 120.00p -2.60%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 19.48p -2.60%
Gem Diamonds Ltd. (DI) (GEMD) 172.90p -2.43%
Raven Russia Ltd (RUS) 64.00p -2.22%
Invensys (ISYS) 243.70p -2.21%
Berendsen (BRSN) 554.00p -1.77%
Informa (INF) 409.30p -1.63%