LONDON (ShareCast) – UK stocks edged higher on Wednesday morning after a positive session on Wall Street, though gains were only modest ahead of the hotly-anticipated Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement and Bank of England minutes.London’s FTSE 100 was trading 0.2% higher at 6,805 in early deals, after settling at 6,792.24 on Tuesday, its lowest close since 22 August.
The index has traded broadly sideways over the past week as concerns about Chinese economic growth and nervousness ahead of the FOMC meeting and Scottish referendum have eroded risk appetite.
Investors were also choosing not to take on too much risk ahead of UK unemployment data and the minutes from the latest Bank of England policy meeting, also due out during Wednesday’s sesssion.
Markets will be on the lookout to see how divided the UK central bank was on its decision to hold rates after two members voted for an increase the previous month.
As for the Federal Reserve meeting, which wraps up after European markets close, investors will be watching for a possible change in language by chair Janet Yellen to signal when the first increase in interest rates may come.
Economist Simon Smith from FxPro said: “The momentum behind tapering is expected to continue, but the main focus is on the language and the scope for an adjustment to water-down or remove the pledge to keep rates at their current target level ‘for a considerable time’ after the asset purchase program ends.”
Imagination rebounds after trading update
Imagination Technologies (Other OTC: IGNMF – news) , the chipmaker which saw its share price sink on Tuesday, rebounded strongly early on after saying that despite a volatile pound affecting sales, trading in the first quarter was in line with expectations. Sector peer ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L – news) was also a high riser.
Engineer Smiths Group was heading the other way after saying that annual revenues fell 5% to £2.95bn on the back of foreign exchange headwinds and a small disposal.
Despite disappointing results in the fashion division, sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD.L – news) more than doubled first-half profits year-on-year thanks to strong performances across sports and outdoor clothing, helping shares higher early on.
Vodafone was trading broadly flat amid reports that it, along with network operator EE, are considering buying up parts of Phones 4U, the mobile-phone retailer that went into adminstration at the weekend.
Consumer-goods packaging group DS Smith (Other OTC: DITHF – news) gained after saying it had made good progress since the start of its financial year with volumes continuing to grow despite competitive market conditions. Sector peer Bunzl (LSE: BNZL.L – news) was also higher.
Copper miner Antofagasta (Other OTC: ANFGF – news) was among the worst performers on the FTSE 100 after going ex-dividend, meaning that investors will no longer be able to tap into the company’s latest dividend payment. Other stocks trading ex-dividend on Wednesday included Melrose, Petrofac, Computacenter (LSE: CCC.L – news) and Derwent London (LSE: DLN.L – news) .
Market Movers techMARK 2,839.73 +0.26%FTSE 100 6,805.05 +0.19%FTSE 250 15,629.11 +0.23%
FTSE 100 – Risers Bunzl (BNZL) 1,642.00p +1.92%ARM Holdings (ARM) 937.00p +1.85%Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT.L – news) (JMAT) 3,145.00p +1.45%Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS (LSE: RBS.L – news) ) 355.70p +1.25%Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV.L – news) (BDEV) 385.00p +1.24%Capita (CPI (Other OTC: CPICQ – news) ) 1,175.00p +1.12%Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF.L – news) (ABF) 2,645.00p +1.11%Compass Group (Other OTC: CMPGF – news) (CPG) 983.50p +1.08%Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 284.80p +0.99%Whitbread (WTB) 4,213.00p +0.98%
FTSE 100 – Fallers Smiths Group (Other OTC: SMGKF – news) (SMIN) 1,290.00p -4.37%Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO.L – news) (ANTO) 754.00p -1.05%Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,032.00p -0.77%SABMiller (SAB) 3,635.00p -0.71%Pearson (PSON) 1,218.00p -0.65%Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN.L – news) (SN.) 1,062.00p -0.65%BP (BP.) 470.95p -0.30%HSBC Holdings (HKSE: 0005.HK – news) (HSBA) 657.30p -0.29%Burberry Group (Other OTC: BBRYF – news) (BRBY) 1,519.00p -0.26%Diageo (DGE) 1,842.50p -0.24%
FTSE 250 – Risers Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 198.70p +5.13%Smith (DS) (SMDS) 282.20p +3.37%JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 420.00p +2.94%Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate (LSE: KWE.L – news) (KWE) 1,130.00p +2.73%Dignity (DTY) 1,465.00p +2.30%Ashmore Group (Other OTC: AJMPF – news) (ASHM) 328.30p +2.27%ICAP (IAP) 366.70p +2.12%Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE.L – news) (TATE) 710.00p +2.01%Domino Printing Sciences (Other OTC: DMIPF – news) (DNO (Other OTC: DTNOF – news) ) 599.00p +1.96%NMC Health (LSE: NMC.L – news) (NMC) 480.00p +1.89%
FTSE 250 – Fallers IG Group Holdings (IGG (HKSE: 8002.HK – news) ) 581.50p -3.65%Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,102.00p -2.82%International Public Partnerships Ltd. (INPP) 131.30p -2.38%PayPoint (PAY) 1,037.00p -2.08%Just Retirement Group (JRG) 137.60p -2.06%Infinis Energy (LSE: INFI.L – news) (INFI) 214.00p -2.01%Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 378.20p -1.87%Interserve (IRV) 607.50p -1.62%RPS Group (LSE: RPS.L – news) (RPS) 275.70p -1.54%Centamin (DI (KSE: 003160.KS – news) ) (CEY) 60.15p -1.47%
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