London midday: Stocks gain after better-than-estimated UK construction PMI
London stocks rose on Monday as a report showed continued expansion in UK construction activity in March.
UK construction activity growth held steady in March, a survey by Markit/CIPS revealed. The purchasing managers’ index remained at 54.2, above the 50 level that separates an expansion from a contraction for the 35th consecutive month. Analysts had expected a reading of 54.1.
“Whilst, remaining unchanged at 54.2, the UK construction PMI didn’t provide the FTSE with any cause for celebration, neither did it indicate too much cause for concern, allowing the UK index to stretch out its legs and managed a 45 point rise as the morning continued,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex.
Meanwhile, oil prices wavered after Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told Iran's Mehr News agency over the weekend that the country would continue increasing its production and exports. His remarks came after Saudi Arabia on Friday said it would not agree to a production freeze until all other major producers did the same.
At 1151 BST Brent crude fell 0.25% to $38.57 per barrel while West Texas Intermediate dropped 0.51% to $36.60 per barrel.
In the Eurozone, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 10.3% in February from 10.4% in January, as expected by analysts. January’s rate was revised up from a previous estimate of 10.3%.
Still to come, US data on factory orders and durable goods orders will be released at 1500 GMT.
On the corporate front, Ryanair flew higher after saying March traffic rose 28% to 8.5m customers and its load factor, the percentage of seats filled on the flight, increased 4% to 94% year-on-year.
Anglo American gained after saying it has entered into a sale and purchase agreement to offload its 70% interest in the Foxleigh metallurgical coal mine in Queensland, Australia.
Mondi slumped after the packaging and paper group said Russian authorities are investigating its Mondi Syktyvkar business on claims it violated anti-monopoly laws in regards to pricing of offset paper.
Pets at Home declined as it delayed the joining date of Graeme Jenkins as group chief financial officer.
Glencore was under the cosh after Polymetal International agreed to buy its Komarovskoye gold deposit in Kazakhstan for $100m (£70.4m) in cash plus royalties. Polymetal’s shares rose.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Mediclinic International (MDC) 919.00p 2.34%
Worldpay Group (WI) (WPG) 281.00p 2.14%
Pearson (PSON) 865.50p 2.00%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 562.00p 1.81%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 1,975.00p 1.65%
Centrica (CNA) 228.20p 1.47%
Unilever (ULVR) 3,210.50p 1.44%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 202.50p 1.30%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,982.50p 1.27%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,170.00p 1.26%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Mondi (MNDI) 1,318.00p -2.23%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 445.50p -1.85%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 470.30p -1.34%
Next (NXT) 5,380.00p -1.19%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,934.00p -1.02%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 449.35p -0.99%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 849.00p -0.99%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 216.40p -0.96%
Glencore (GLEN) 148.35p -0.93%
Fresnillo (FRES) 916.50p -0.87%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 265.50p 6.24%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 312.10p 3.79%
Drax Group (DRX) 279.00p 2.80%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 265.70p 2.79%
Softcat (SCT) 320.00p 2.70%
AO World (AO.) 179.70p 2.69%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 260.90p 2.60%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 819.50p 2.31%
Polar Capital Technology Trust (PCT) 594.50p 2.15%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 619.00p 2.15%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 157.60p -5.35%
Countrywide (CWD) 371.00p -2.96%
OneSavings Bank (OSB) 309.30p -2.95%
Serco Group (SRP) 99.85p -2.78%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 75.75p -2.26%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 377.70p -2.23%
Allied Minds (ALM) 454.40p -2.13%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,055.00p -2.04%
Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) 433.40p -2.03%
Jimmy Choo (CHOO) 123.70p -1.90%