- Chinese, Japanese data comes in better than expected
- RBS falls on Libor issues
- Barclays Chairman resigns
London's blue chips edged higher on Monday morning after manufacturing data in China and Japan boosted sentiment.
China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell from 50.4 to 50.2 last month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, beating forecasts of around 49.9.
Meanwhile, Japan's Tankan manufacturers' sentiment survey improved from minus four to minus one in the second quarter, compared to expectations of an unchanged ready.
Investors will be looking ahead to policy decisions in both the UK and Europe around Thursday lunchtime. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will be revealing its policy decision with the majority of economists expecting the Bank of England (BoE) to ramp up its asset purchase programme while keeping rates where they are.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is anticipated to slash its main refinancing rate to a record-low 0.75%, compared with the current 1% level. 48 of the 71 economists surveyed by Reuters expect a reduction.
FTSE 100: Banks continue to be dampened by Libor scandal
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was a heavy faller after Oriel Securities downgraded its rating on the stock to 'hold'. It was revealed at the weekend that the bank had sacked four of its traders last year over the alleged manipulation of interbank lending rates (London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR). Some market reports said that some 10 traders were dismissed, citing unidentified sources.
The news comes after last week's revelation that banking peer Barclays had been fined £290m after it was found attempting to control submissions for LIBOR to benefit its interest rate derivatives. The issue prompted the lender's Chairman Marcus Agius to resign this morning. He said he is "truly sorry" that the bank's customers, clients, employees and shareholders have been let down. Barclay swung between gains and losses early on following last week's sell-off.
Insurance group Aviva rose after announcing that Chairman Lord Sharman retired as Chairman on June 30th. John McFarlane has taken over.
Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca edged higher after saying that Bristol-Myers Squibb's acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals will strengthen the leadership position of its diabetes alliance with Bristol-Myers in a "growing area of high unmet medical need". Astra will make a payment of $3.4bn in cash to Amylin once it becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol-Myers.
Sector peer GlaxoSmithKline also advanced after revealing positive results from four pivotal phase III studies for its once-daily COPD treatment. The company said that the results of the studies support its intention to commence global regulatory submissions for the treatment from the end of 2012.
Serco, the international services company, rose after it signed an agreement to dispose of most of its operations in Germany in a transaction with the local management team.
Media giant WPP was in demand after announcing another acquisition; it has agreed to acquire the South Korean media planning and buying agency, Alchemedia, which will be merged into its GroupM Korea subsidiary.
FTSE 250: Catlin falls after broker downgrade
Insurance group Catlin fell after Jefferies downgraded the stock to 'hold' as part of its review into the European insurance industry: "With Catlin now close to our price target, we downgrade to 'hold' also noting higher end US windstorm exposure and a broadly untouched reinsurance deductible."
Oil and gas group SOCO International jumped after entering into a 'conditional' agreement with Lizeroux Oil & Gas to acquire the 20% minority interest in SOCO Vietnam that the group does not already own.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,418.50p +2.46%
Barclays (BARC) 166.00p +1.93%
WPP (WPP) 786.00p +1.68%
Aviva (AV.) 276.80p +1.54%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,345.00p +1.51%
Prudential (PRU) 748.50p +1.42%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 31.50p +1.27%
BP (BP.) 427.20p +1.24%
G4S (GFS) 282.40p +1.18%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,487.00p +1.16%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Xstrata (XTA) 780.20p -2.30%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,796.00p -1.97%
Glencore International (GLEN) 290.45p -1.73%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 211.70p -1.67%
Tesco (TSCO) 306.45p -1.16%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 177.45p -1.00%
Evraz (EVR) 258.30p -0.92%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 690.50p -0.86%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 632.50p -0.78%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 158.30p -0.75%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Soco International (SIA) 302.80p +4.63%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 487.60p +4.50%
Engineering firm AMEC was a heavy faller today after going ex-dividend. Others in the FTSE 350 including Johnson Matthey, Vedanta Resources, Lancashire Holdings, 3i Infrastructure, UDG Healthcare, Telecom Plus and Dunelm also went ex-div today. [27 Nov '13]
Nomura has raised its target price for insurance group Aviva from 474p to 489p and maintained a 'buy' rating, saying that the stock remains 'relatively cheap' despite the impressive performance over recent few months. [27 Nov '13]
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