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%
Banking stocks were in demand on Wednesday after playing down concerns about capital requirements and as speculation ramps up regarding the potential reprivatisations of both RBS and Lloyds. [Yesterday 15:08]
Change is in the air at HSBC. The lender has been right to concentrate on cost-cutting, having exited 50 businesses and announced roughly 44,000 lay-offs since 2011 - even if its cost-to-income ratio has risen over the past three years. Indeed, banks have been at pains recently to show investors that they can still grow, but HSBC does have greater exposure to emerging markets, while "soggy" top lines are being me with a renewed focus on efficiency and returns, with the lender [16 May '13]
HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver has notified of further considerable cost cutting plans as the bank becomes "simpler and easier to manage" after shedding a swathe of underperforming businesses. [15 May '13]
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