Top stocks staged a recovery late afternoon as Wall Street reacted well to US consumer confidence at a 16-month high.
Standard Chartered was a bright spot after Nomura said the recent share price fall represents a buying opportunity.
The Japanese broker upgraded the Far East focused bank to 'buy' from 'neutral' with 1,790p target price and reckons the shares are likely to outperform the sector along with HSBC, also rated a 'buy'.
Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland struggled though as Britain's emergence from recession in the fourth quarter of 2009 proved less than impressive.
Financials remain exposed to a UK recovery and growth of just 0.1% in the three months to December was shy of the 0.4% predicted by economists.
Miners remained a drag on concerns that Chinese authorities will step up efforts to cool down the country's overheating economy and lift interest rates hurt miners.
Metal prices fell, taking Kazakhmys, Fresnillo Randgold and Xstrata lower, while Cairn Energy was hurt by weaker oil prices.
Tullow Oil fell ahead of figures tomorrow. Today it entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Heritage Oil to buy their entire interest in Block 1 and Block 3A in Uganda for $1.5bn.
Earlier, Heritage shareholders approved the sale of the firm's 50% stake in the blocks to either Tullow or Italy's Eni, which agreed in November to buy the Ugandan interests. Tullow gatecrashed the deal last week, exercising a pre-emption right to snap up the holding for the same price.
Defensive stocks were back in favour Tuesday, with tobacco conglomerate Imperial Tobacco, supermarket chain Morrisons and drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline the favoured picks.
Severn Trent might ordinarily expect to benefit from the switch to defensive stocks, but the share price did little after the company's trading statement this morning. The water company said the decline in consumption by non-residential customers tailed off in the fourth quarter and now estimates that the cutback in consumption will now result in a year on year fall in revenue of around £5m to £10m in the current financial year, compared to its previous estimate of a £15m to £20m fall.
Bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes benefitted from broker comment, with Cazenove upgrading the former to 'out-perform' from 'in line' and the latter from 'under-perform' to 'in line'.
Online poker group Partygaming is friendless though after Anurag Dikshit, the co-founder of the company, offloaded his remaining 9% stake in the company. His investment vehicle, Crystal Ventures, sold around 38.8m shares at 270p each.
Business management software provider Sage Group has seen no sign of a market recovery yet as it posted an in-line trading update. Performance in all regions had been consistent with management expectations in the final quarter of 2009, the company addedm with a rise in subscription revenues once again offsetting subdued markets for software and software related services.
Soap manufacturer PZ Cussons managed to post a sharp rise in profits despite flat revenues in the year to November 30. Pre-tax profits climbed by 28% to £44.7m from £34.8m the previous year as revenues edged up to £369.9m from £367.2m.
Healthy banknote demand has meant a strong few months for De La Rue despite tough trading conditions for its cash processing arm. Analysts at Ambrian feel the dynamics driving the outlook remain 'excellent'.
Mezzanine finance provider Intermediate Capital has seen a 'material' improvement in prospects for realising its investments with the recent pick-up in equity and bond markets and is now lending again.
Interior decoration firm Colefax performed ahead of expectations in the first half of its financial year but remains cautious on the full year outlook. Current trading remains mixed, the company's chairman David Green said.
Griffin Mining is at a two-month high after it was granted a new 16-year mining licence to dig below the 1300 level at its Caijiaying zinc-gold mine in China.
Mobile gaming software specialist Probability is trading in line with expectations following a 'very encouraging' December that saw record bets taken and net gaming revenues 30% higher than November.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,481.00p +2.49%
SEGRO (SGRO) 323.10p +2.25%
British Land Co (BLND) 447.50p +2.10%
Invensys (ISYS) 308.00p +2.09%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,030.00p +1.96%
Cable & Wireless (CW.) 145.00p +1.68%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 352.20p +1.65%
International Power (IPR) 317.90p +1.57%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 935.50p +1.57%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,239.00p +1.56%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
ICAP (IAP) 380.00p -3.75%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,216.00p -3.57%
Fresnillo (FRES) 698.00p -2.31%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 1,274.00p -2.30%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 51.71p -2.29%
Randgold Resources (RRS) 4,495.00p -1.75%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,084.00p -1.68%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 34.80p -1.58%
Lonmin (LMI) 1,829.00p -1.45%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 653.00p -1.28%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Debenhams (DEB) 68.30p +3.56%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 223.00p +3.48%
Griffin Mining has continued to deliver 'excellent' results from underground diamond drilling at its Caijiaying mine in northern China. Some of the best results so far include 37.4 metres (m) at 6.55g per tonne gold and 4.33% zinc, 45m at 5.23g/t (grammes per tonne) gold and 4.47% zinc and 28.5m 3.42g per tonne gold and 1.92% zinc. Better zinc results included 25.4m at 15.5% zinc and 30m at 10.91% zinc. Drilling will continue during 2012 to evaluate what is a highly prospecti [24 May '12]
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