LONDON (SHARECAST) - Markets were volatile in morning trade on Tuesday as traders reacted to mixed newsflow from Germany, though stocks remained in negative territory following an underwhelming policy announcement from Japan.
techMARK 2,222.96 -0.00%
FTSE 100 6,173.59 -0.12%
FTSE 250 12,953.14 -0.32%
According to market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari, trading volumes are expected to pick up today "as traders return to their desks in the US following Martin Luther King Day". Stock futures Stateside were mixed ahead of some fourth-quarter earnings announcements by some Wall Street heavyweights, including DuPont and Johnson & Johnson.
After a two-day meeting, the Bank of Japan set a 2.0% inflation target and pledged to embark on a Fed-style unlimited asset purchase programme. Meanwhile, the central bank left its benchmark rate unchanged at the prior range of zero to 0.1%.
However, the promised increase in asset repurchases will not come into place until January 2014, later than at least some had hoped. This disappointment prompted a tentative start on the FTSE 100.
German newsflow shakes markets
By mid-morning though, rumours that Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann had resigned swept through the markets, sending London's benchmark index firmly into the red. This speculation was later denied by the German central bank.
"As ever with these fast market moves, there is a suspicion that the rumour is custom built after the fact to fit the direction of trade, and the initial failure of the Dax to recover its previous levels when the rumour was quashed suggests some genuine selling," according to senior sales trader Matt Basi from CMC Markets.
Nevertheless, stocks quickly recovered after a better-than-expected reading from the German ZEW survey. The economic sentiment index (which canvasses financial market experts) increased by 24.6 points in January to 31.5 points, thereby reaching its highest level since May 2010. This beat the consensus estimate, which had forecast only a 5.1 point increase to 12.
FTSE 100: Fresnillo sinks on gloomy outlook
Precious metals miner Fresnillo was a heavy faller despite exceeding production forecasts in 2012: gold output totalled 473,034 ounces, up 5.4% year-on-year and was above the 460,000-ounce target. However, the company did say that silver production would remain stable in 2013. Sector peer Polymetal was also lower.
Beverages giant SABMiller, the company famous for Miller Lite and Foster's brands, said that trading in the third quarter was in line with expectations with revenue growth accelerating from the first six months of the year, causing shares to edge higher.
Smiths Group and Shire were in demand after Credit Suisse highlighted that they would benefit as inflation expectations rise.
In contrast, insurance group Standard Life was lower after UBS cut its recommendation from 'neutral' to 'sell' on valuation grounds. The broker said: "After strong share price performance in 2012, the sector no longer offers such clear value, and fundamentals look challenging".
Kingfisher was boosted after Exane BNP Paribas raised its target price from 320p to 350p and kept an 'outperform' rating.
FTSE 250: Ocado gains with management change
Online food company Ocado was a high riser after unveiling Sir Stuart Rose, who was formerly the Executive Chairman of the British retailer Marks & Spencer, as its new independent Non-Executive Director and Chairman Designate, effective from March 11th. Two months later the City grandee will become Chairman, following the group's annual general meeting on May 10th.
Residential landlord Grainger rose after creating the GRIP unit trust with APG Strategic Real Estate Pool to acquire a residential property portfolio worth £349.4m.
Gold miner African Barrick Gold edged higher after completing the financing for the expansion of its Bulyanhulu process plant in Tanzania.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Kingfisher (KGF) 273.80p +1.82%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,693.00p +1.38%
Next (NXT) 4,024.00p +1.36%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,094.00p +1.11%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,970.00p +1.03%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,643.00p +0.86%
BG Group (BG.) 1,129.00p +0.85%
Experian (EXPN) 1,094.00p +0.83%
Capita (CPI) 804.00p +0.81%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 342.50p +0.76%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,705.00p -3.94%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,040.00p -3.26%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 361.60p -1.44%
GKN (GKN) 244.70p -1.37%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 160.15p -1.29%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,643.00p -1.26%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 149.90p -1.25%
Pearson (PSON) 1,187.00p -1.25%
Standard Life (SL.) 341.80p -1.16%
British Land Co (BLND) 560.00p -1.15%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 100.00p +5.21%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 98.05p +3.21%
Grainger (GRI) 130.00p +2.93%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 185.90p +2.03%
Rightmove (RMV) 1,585.00p +1.93%
Spectris (SXS) 2,201.00p +1.43%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 2,135.00p +1.43%
Chemring Group (CHG) 285.50p +1.38%
Soco International (SIA) 381.50p +1.30%
Catlin Group Ltd. (CGL) 520.00p +1.27%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 288.50p -3.29%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 631.00p -2.77%
Bumi (BUMI) 322.50p -2.69%
Persimmon (PSN) 863.00p -2.54%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 240.30p -2.52%
Lonmin (LMI) 334.80p -2.36%
Henderson Group (HGG) 155.00p -2.33%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 510.00p -2.30%
IP Group (IPO) 125.70p -2.10%
Debenhams (DEB) 100.40p -2.05%