Date: Tuesday 19 Jun 2012
LONDON (ShareCast) - 1630: Today saw inflation fall unexpectedly in May to back within the government's target level, raising expectations that the BoE will soon ramp up its quantitative easing programme. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) fell to 2.8% year-on-year, from 3.0% in April, according to figures from the ONS. UK house prices showed the biggest gain in April versus a year ago since December 2010, according to government data, though the increase was a far cry from the days when soaring house prices was a popular subject at dinner parties. In Spain, the Treasury issued a total of 3bn in 12 and 18-month bills, at the top end of its 2-3bn target. The FTSE 100 closed up 95 points to 5,586, pushed higher by rumours regarding the European Central Bank´s intention of pursuing a funding for lending scheme similar to the BofE's.
1614: The latest run-up in stocks is being attributed by some market commentary to rumours regarding the European Central Bank´s intention of pursuing a funding for lending scheme similar to the Bank of England´s. FTSE 100 up 106 to 5,597.
1558: Weir Group has slipped into second place on the benchmark index after reiterating its full year guidance, whereas ARM Holdings is benefitting from Microsoft´s announcement that its new Windows powered tablet computer will run on its chips. BG Group is also doing well today; the natural gas giant has issued $1.57bn in hybrid debt to fund projects in Brazil, Australia and elsewhere. FTSE 100 up 108 to 5,599.
1413: The Footsie is trading 71 points higher at 5,562 the index has not closed above this level since May 11th. Whitbread is still leading the risers in London on the back of its impressive first quarter. Numis said today that the numbers were very encouraging and thinks that the the business model is looking very robust, while Citi said the group continues to run well ahead of its peer group.
1216: Clearing house LCH Clearnet could increase the margins required for trading in Spanish debt as soon as today, comment analysts at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch according to a report in Business Insider. Of interest as well perhaps, these same analysts ascribe the recent rise in Spanish yields to the poor liquidity conditions at the moment, as opposed to any perceived increase in short-term Spanish default risks. FTSE 100 up 48 to 5,539.
1116: The FTSE 100 is up 47 points at 5,538 as investors continue to react positively to the G20 pledge to 'take all necessary measures to safeguard the integrity and stability' of the Eurozone. Markets will also be digesting this morning's inflation data from the UK - CPI fell from 3.0 per cent to 2.8 per cent in May, under expectations of 3.0 per cent. 'With near-term inflationary pressures easing, the case for additional QE in response to faltering confidence is stronger. We expect the MPC to announce an additional 50bn pound in QE at the July policy meeting,' said analysts at Barclays Capital.
1049: After a bright start Footsie has moved into consolidation mode. Energy stocks such as Antofagasta, Vedanta, BG and Tullow are doing their bit to push the index higher, but defensive stalwarts such as household products providers Unilever and Reckitt, plus booze and fags stocks Diageo and IMPs are off the pace. FTSE 250 military counter-measures specialist Chemring is getting a kicking after disappointing interim results, but broker finnCap is sticking with its 420p price target for the stock. The broker has upgraded Chemring to 'buy' after the recent share price fall which has seen the shares from a little above 450p in mid-January to around 293p now. FTSE 100 is up 41 at 5,532.
1002: Whitbread remains at the top of the Footsie tree after its well-received first quarter trading update but engineering group, Weir, is hot on its heels after revealing it will confirm full year earnings guidance at a presentation to shareholders and analysts in London today. The shares have been under pressure since the end of February. Elsewhere in the engineering sector, Kentz is wanted after saying it is on track to hits its revised targets as its backlog of work continues to grow. FTSE 100 is up 37 at 5,528.
0942: The Spanish Treasury has just sold 3.04bn in 12 and 18 month bills, on the back of increased bid-to-cover ratios, but also along with much higher yields than the last time around. FTSE 100 up 29 to 5,520.
0837: Costa Coffee owner Whitbread has perked up the Footsie with an early morning coffee rush after forecast beating results. Like-for-like sales numbers across the group were ahead of most market commentators' expectations, and despite a slight element of caution from management about how this summer's fiesta of sporting events might affect custom, the shares are flying in early trading. In the mid-cap space, things are getting worse more slowly at Homebase and Argos owner Home Retail. The shares shot up after management said it is comfortable with current market expectations for the full year. Fellow DIY retailer Kingfisher rises in sympathy. FTSE 100 is up 43 at 5,534.