Market overview: FTSE 100 closes down 23 at 6,689

LONDON (ShareCast) – 1630:Close It was a negative finish for the FTSE today, dragged lower by miners on the back of poor Asian data, although gains were partially offset by a strong performance by Rolls-Royce and British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS.L – news) . China registered a surprise trade deficit, its first in 11 months, while Japanese Q4 GDP was revised lower from initial estimates. In UK news, it was revealed that public sector pay has risen above private sector pay, with workers in the former paid an average 14.5 per cent more. Meanwhile, the BCC (Shenzhen: 002455.SZ – news) forecast an increase in the size of the UK economy that will take it above the levels seen in early 2008. It predicted economic growth for the year would be 2.8 per cent, 0.1 per cent higher than its previous estimate. The FTSE 100 closed down 23.22 points at 6,689.45.

1618: Pricing on the IPO of Pets at Home tightened on Monday morning to between 235p and 245p, whereas the deal was covered throughout the 210p to 260p marketing range last Tuesday afternoon, Thomson IFR reports.

1552: Shares of Vesuvius (Other OTC: CKSNF – news) are near technical support towards 440p and atop their 200-day movong average.

1550: For the near-term the main level of technical support to watch in Aggreko (LSE: AGK.L – news) seems to come in around 1,500p.

1331: “Any further appreciation of sterling, which has risen almost 10 per cent in trade-weighted terms since March, would not be particularly helpful in terms of facilitating a rebalancing towards net exports,” the MPC´s Charlie Bean said in a speech this morning.

1305: Three month copper prices are off by 1.4 per cent at 6,690.25 dollars/metric tonne, while cash copper is down by 3.1 per cent at 6,715.75 dollars per metric tonne.

1214: Markets have now erased gains after Charles Plosser from the Philadelphia Fed said that the central bank may have to pick up the pace of tapering in light of an ‘improving economy’. Speaking in Paris, he said: ‘Reducing the pace of asset purchases in measured steps is moving in the right direction, but the pace may leave us well behind the curve if the economy continues to play out according to the FOMC forecasts.’ The FTSE 100 is down 2.69 at 6,709.98.

1115: Aviva (Other OTC: AIVAF – news) stock is leading advances on the top flight index for a third day in a row after the release of its latest full-year results.

0941: Shares of Vodafone are now the second worst performer on the benchmark index as investors try to keep pace with the incoming reports regarding a possible improved bid for Spanish cable operator ONO. Analysts at Citi have upgraded their view on shares of Mondi (LSE: MNDI.L – news) to ‘buy’. The broker has raised the target price for shares in the paper and packaging group from 1,110p to 1,260p, saying it sees “another strong year ahead.”

0910: UK stocks have moved back into the blue. Shares had dipped at the start of trading after the release of weak readings on Chinese exports and wholesale inflation over the weekend which are weighing on the likes of Antofagasta (Other OTC: ANFGF – news) and BHP Billiton (NYSE: BBL – news) . In that same vein, it has just been reported that net new bank lending in China slowed down to a 644.5bn yuan pace in February, more than halving from the previous month´s level of 1,320bn Yuan. Rolls Royce (LSE: RR.L – news) is leading gains on the Footsie on the back of price target upgrades out of RBC Capital and Bank of America (TLO: BAC.TI – news) . Centrica (LSE: CNA.L – news) is benefiting from an upgrade from Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS – news) to ‘neutral’ from ‘underperform’. FTSE 100 up 33 to 6,746.

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