LONDON (SHARECAST) - The Footsie moved within a narrow band throughout the morning session, in the absence of any market-moving economic data.
techMARK 2,135.63 -0.06%
FTSE 100 5,836.48 -0.04%
FTSE 250 11,902.48 -0.01%
There is not a lot of macro data in prospect in the afternoon session, either, with only second-tier economic indicators due out this afternoon Stateside.
"US consumer confidence ... will provide an early read on how the Fed’s delivery of QE3 [third phase of quantitative easing] has impacted upon the mood of the US consumer," according to Ian Williams at Peel Hunt.
Hester takes RBS's temperature
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the publicly owned bank, says it is targeting the resumption of dividend payments after 2013.
The announcement came in a speech by RBS’s Chief Executive, Stephen Hester, at Merrill Lynch’s annual London conference for bank bosses.
In a presentation that accompanied the speech, a resumption of dividend payments is cited as a “milestone” in the recovery plan, along with the sale of Direct Line.
"Overall the update was broadly in line with previous guidance, although management highlighted a strong Q3 [third quarter] performance so far and some additional cost cutting," notes Credit Suisse. "With the stock having rallied strongly in the last month with the sector we don't see this event as changing the investment case for RBS," the broker added, as it justified sticking with its "under-perform" rating.
Elsewhere in the financial sector, finance house Close Bros reported a mixed set of full year results with strong growth in its banking division while difficult trading conditions hurt securities. The group said asset management has mostly completed its restructuring and is now positioned for future profitability. Overall, it believes it is well positioned for the current financial year.
Credit Suisse dismissive of StanChart reports
Rumours that Singapore investment fund Temasek has sounded out potential buyers for its £6bn stake Standard Chartered are sapping support for the emerging markets focused bank.
At first glance analysts at Credit Suisse seem rather dismissive in their initial reaction to the above article, commenting that: “This is not the first time that we have seen this type of story, although whether or not a transaction happens we think it may create a debate.” On the other hand, they make three “observations” which may be of interest. These are: [Credit Suisse believes] Temasek has been trying to shift away from financials towards commodities and other sectors, at the AGM this year they did not support the elections of all the executive directors and given the prominence of the stake for Temasek this could also be interpreted as a negative indicator of their expectations for the group.
Two companies making exhibitions of themselves are Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) and Euromoney.
Business publisher and exhibitions firm Euromoney Institutional Investor said trading has been in line with expectations since its last update in late July. As flagged in July, market conditions became noticeably tougher from June, particularly in Europe. As a result, revenues for the fourth quarter are expected to be broadly in line with the same period last year, with growth in subscriptions offset by weakness in advertising and delegate revenues.
Meanwhile, DMGT, which owns a stake in Euromoney, confirmed full-year results will be in line with expectations. The regional newspaper business remains on a seemingly irreversible downward course but the business to business division is going gangbusters.
Mining giant Xstrata announced production had begun ahead of schedule at its Lady Loretta zinc mine in north-west Queensland, Australia. The mine was originally supposed to start production at the end of 2013, but first deliveries of zinc-lead-silver ore to the company's Mount Isa processing plant are now set to begin later this month.
FTSE 250 miner Bumi said its former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had resigned from his current role as non-executive director following the launch of a probe into 'irregularities' at its Indonesian business. The firm said Ari Hudaya, who was CEO until March and is also president director of PT Bumi Resources, the focus of the investigation, had resigned from the board with immediate effect.
The "urgent" probe into PT Bumi Resources, in which the company has a 29% interest, is focusing on the firm's development funds
Diageo was the best performing blue-chip if the morning after it confirmed it is in talks about taking a stake in Indian rival United Spirits.
Down among the tiddlers, Hornby, the train set and Scalextric slot-car racing firm, has crashed after issuing a profit warning. Sales of Olympics merchandise were lower than forecast, the group revealed.
Consumer electronics repair specialist Regenersis rose after it reported strong figures and was bullish in its outlook. The firm now intends to recommence paying a dividend to shareholders, announcing a final dividend of 1.1p per ordinary share to be paid in December.
With equity markets becalmed, gilts are seeing a bit of buying action, although prices are off the top. The yield on the benchmark 10-year gilt is down to 1.79% from around 1.82% overnight.
On the futures market, the price of Brent crude is back on the rise. The main contract is up 55 cents at $110.36 a barrel.
The price of gold is up $3.40 to $1,768.00 an ounce.
US futures markets suggest Wall Street will open little changed.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Diageo (DGE) 1,755.00p +1.80%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,771.00p +1.72%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 775.00p +1.44%
Hammerson (HMSO) 455.50p +1.40%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 667.50p +1.14%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,626.00p +1.12%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,312.00p +1.08%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 746.50p +1.08%
Old Mutual (OML) 174.80p +0.98%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 40.45p +0.92%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Evraz (EVR) 249.60p -4.55%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,431.00p -3.34%
Xstrata (XTA) 983.50p -1.63%
Glencore International (GLEN) 348.60p -1.57%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 156.20p -1.45%
BAE Systems (BA.) 329.90p -1.40%
GKN (GKN) 215.90p -1.37%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,940.00p -1.34%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 326.50p -1.24%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,043.00p -1.23%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bumi (BUMI) 155.10p +5.08%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 600.00p +2.83%
Bellway (BWY) 949.50p +2.10%
Unite Group (UTG) 250.50p +1.83%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,630.00p +1.81%
Workspace Group (WKP) 265.00p +1.73%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 770.00p +1.72%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 521.00p +1.66%
Mondi (MNDI) 620.00p +1.47%
Utilico Emerging Markets Ltd (DI) (UEM) 162.70p +1.37%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Essar Energy (ESSR) 116.90p -2.58%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 89.45p -2.56%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 829.00p -2.53%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 204.80p -2.52%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 42.08p -2.14%
SIG (SHI) 102.60p -2.01%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 37.15p -1.98%
Pace (PIC) 165.20p -1.84%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 280.00p -1.75%
easyJet (EZJ) 579.00p -1.70%