London close: Stocks surge as economic data impresses
The impressive performance by global stock markets last month continued into the first trading day of February, as a barrage of upbeat economic data lifted sentiment.
The FTSE 100 rose a total of 6.4% in January alone, the best January performance since 1989.
Eurozone manufacturing beats forecasts
Manufacturing data from the Eurozone painted an improving picture for the single-currency economy this morning, as Markit’s purchasing managers' index (PMI) hit an 11-month high of 47.9 in January. Forecasts were the PMI to be unchanged from the preliminary reading (47.5)
While a figure below 50 still indicates a contraction, "the Eurozone economic picture continues to brighten", according to Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson.
Meanwhile, even though official manufacturing PMIs in the UK and China eased last month, they were both still above the crucial 50-point mark, indicating expansion.
Sentiment was shaken around lunchtime on the news that European banks are expected to pay back a smaller-than-expected amount to the European Central Bank (ECB) next week as part of the repayments for the Long-Term Refinancing Operations (LTRO) programme.
US data cheers markets late on
A series of robust economic indicators Stateside lifted the mood this afternoon, lifting the FTSE 100 in London over one per cent higher by the close.
US non-farm payrolls increased by 157,000 last month, slightly below expectations, but data from the previous two months was revised higher. While the unemployment rate ticked higher from 7.8% to 7.9%, stocks were performing well this afternoon with analysts labelling the data as “encouraging”.
“While I still expect the rate of hiring to pick up, revisions to the non-farm payrolls figures in November and December suggest that plenty of businesses were never really concerned about the fiscal cliff,” said market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
“Both were revised significantly higher and we can probably expect something similar next month with January’s figure. The revisions are what’s fuelling this afternoons rally as they point to a much stronger jobs market in the lead up to the end of the year than previously thought,” he said.
The closely-watched University of Michigan consumer confidence survey and ISM manufacturing index both came in ahead of analysts’ forecasts this afternoon, sparking a strong start on Wall Street.
FTSE 100: BT impresses with third-quarter statement
Telecoms giant BT registered impressive gains today after its third-quarter results, as cost control helped it to beat bottom-line expectations. Pre-tax profit increased by 7.0% in the quarter to £675m, however revenues fell 6.0% to £4.5bn.
Miners were also performing well today on the back of the well-received economic data from the US and China as continued growth in manufacturing lifted the demand outlook for commodities. Vedanta Resources, Anglo American and Kazakhmys were among the best performers.
Heading the other way was sweeteners and food products group Tate & Lyle after saying that third-quarter profits, while in line with expectations, were lower than they were last year. The company also warned about the elevated levels of volatile corn prices and the impact of the hot summer last year.
Banking stocks were mixed today. Global lender HSBC was higher after receiving regulatory approval for the $7.4bn sale of its stake in China’s Ping An Insurance to Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont. The stock was able to shrug off a downgrade by Citigroup this morning to ‘neutral’.
However, Barclays was in the red after its CEO Antony Jenkins announced that he would waive his bonus for 2012 as the bank tries to mend its image following a series of scandals. RBS was also lower after a Sky News report alleged that it is examining proposals to claw back up to £100m from pay deals previously awarded to investment bank executives as it prepares to settle allegations that it played a role in the LIBOR rate-rigging conspiracy.
FTSE 250: KCOM rises on Q3 statement
Communications services provider KCOM rose after saying in a third-quarter statement that it has seen "positive momentum across all brands".
Platinum producer Lonmin was continuing to rise after yesterday posting quarterly production ahead of targets despite strikes that hit the South African mining sector last year.
De La Rue, the banknote printer, surged after saying that it had received "some" of the previously delayed orders that it had referred to in the last trading update. The company said that results this year would be flat on 2011/12.
Pubs group Greene King was a high riser this morning after HSBC raised its recommendation for the shares to 'overweight' and lifted its target price from 620p to 750p.
FTSE 100 - Risers
BT Group (BT.A) 264.80p +6.52%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,259.00p +4.57%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 713.50p +3.86%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,179.00p +3.60%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,954.00p +3.58%
GKN (GKN) 249.30p +3.53%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 893.50p +3.53%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,679.00p +3.34%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 754.00p +3.29%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 240.50p +3.04%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 804.00p -1.05%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 340.50p -0.82%
BAE Systems (BA.) 337.90p -0.50%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 151.80p -0.39%
Hammerson (HMSO) 484.10p -0.33%
Barclays (BARC) 300.00p -0.33%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 261.90p -0.23%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 731.50p -0.07%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 51.64p -0.04%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Afren (AFR) 154.00p +7.39%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 140.20p +7.27%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 35.63p +7.25%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 77.00p +7.09%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 60.40p +6.81%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 270.70p +6.32%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 251.40p +6.26%
Elementis (ELM) 223.70p +5.92%
De La Rue (DLAR) 953.50p +5.71%
Lonmin (LMI) 380.10p +5.58%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ted Baker (TED) 1,165.00p -3.24%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 282.90p -2.45%
PayPoint (PAY) 823.00p -1.61%
BH Macro Ltd. EUR Shares (BHME) € 19.50 -1.37%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 415.60p -0.95%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 822.00p -0.90%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 510.00p -0.87%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 221.00p -0.85%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,526.00p -0.84%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 332.00p -0.51%