Fund manager Ashmore was bucking the downward trend of the financial sector after UBS raised its rating on the stock from neutral to buy. The broker said that its recent under-performance, combined with the strong fund performance and record inflows at industry level, was the reason behind the upgrade.
Meanwhile, most of the other financial stocks sank following the release of the manufacturing data, with Man Group leading the decline by midday, down 3.5%. Lloyds, Resolution, Legal & General, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays followed suit. HSBC was also lower after announcing that one of its most experienced bankers, Sandy Flockhart, is to retire as Executive Director from the main board, having served 37 years with the firm.
Russia-focused mining firm Polymetal was rising despite seeing its proved and probable gold equivalent reserves fall by a tenth during 2011, as a result of reserve depletion.
BT shares were taking a hit after BT Italia, a subsidiary of UK telecoms titan BT, sold its entire stake in consumer-focused broadband Internet service provider NGI, allowing it to focus on its core corporate and public sector customer base.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 378.30p +3.16%
Sage Group (SGE) 294.90p +2.57%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,725.00p +1.59%
Glencore International (GLEN) 395.40p +1.54%
WPP (WPP) 837.50p +1.27%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,551.00p +1.17%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,205.00p +1.07%
Next (NXT) 2,968.00p +1.06%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,001.00p +1.06%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,114.00p +1.00%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Man Group (EMG) 118.50p -3.50%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 639.50p -2.81%
HSBC has sounded out investors about a flotation of its UK arm, in a move that would realise value from its high street banking business and address regulatory pressures. The bank has in recent weeks asked investors whether they would support the sale of a sizeable stake in the UK business. It has also discussed the issue informally at board level, according to three people familiar with the project. If Stuart Gulliver, HSBC's chief executive, presses ahead with the plan, it [7 Hours Ago]
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