- GKN jumps higher after 633m-pound Volvo Aero purchase
The Footsie was registering moderate gains in morning trade on Thursday as investors hoped that the Bank of England would inject more stimulus into the subdued UK economy; the central bank did just that with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announcing additional quantitative easing at midday.
The Footsie, trading around the 5,700 mark this morning, has not closed above that level since May 3rd.
As expected, the MPC maintained the Bank Rate at 0.5% and decided to ramp up its asset purchase programme by £50bn to £375bn.
"Against the background of continuing tight credit conditions and fiscal consolidation, the increased drag from the heightened tensions within the euro area meant that, without additional monetary stimulus, it was more likely than not that inflation would undershoot the target in the medium term. The Committee therefore voted to increase the size of its programme of asset purchases," the MPC said.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) is widely expected to cut the refinancing rate from the current level of 1.0% this afternoon. Gerhard Schwarz, head of Equity Strategy at Baader Bank, said: "The most likely outcome in our view is a 25 basis point cut. A bigger cut would increase pressure on the ECB to move towards 'unconventional' stimulus - something the ECB has been very reluctant to do recently. So with the refi rate standing at 0.75% the ECB could still argue to have some firepower left."
FTSE 100: GKN surges after Volvo Aero acquisition
Shares in GKN rocketed after the announcement of its acquisition of Volvo Aero for £633m. To help fund the deal GKN aims to place £140m of new shares with institutional investors, with the rest of the money coming from new debt facilities.
Investec reiterated its 'buy' recommendation for the engineering group this morning, saying that 'The acquisition of Volvo Aerospace has been announced on terms that are better than anticipated in the media.' The broker said that while the cost equity raise are lower than expected, the expected returns are higher.
The decision by Xstrata to postpone the vote on its controversial proposed merger with Glencore International gave a boost to both stocks. The company said that the delay is due to the proposed changes to the management retention awards announced last month. Shareholders were due to vote on the the Xstrata-Glencore merger on July 4th.
Utilitiy giant Centrica fell after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to 'neutral' and cut its target price from 441p to 422p.
Insurance group Aviva rose after new Executive Chairman John McFarlane outlined details of its new strategic direction which, not for the first time, will result in changes at the senior management level. The new strategy has three main objectives: narrower focus; building financial strength; and improving financial performance.
Heading the other way was the under-pressure banking sector which was rocked by the LIBOR and mis-selling scandals last week. Barclays, the lender at the centre of the interbank lending rate manipulation claims, was trading slightly lower, while sector peers Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Standard Chartered were also out of favour.
FTSE 250: Dunlem sees strong Q4 sales
Homewares retailer Dunelm advanced after saying that total revenue increased 21.2% in the fourth quarter of the group's fiscal year, boosted by the unusually wet weather. However, the group cautioned that it expects consumer spending to remain under pressure.
Recruitment groups Hays and Michael Page were being weighed down by a gloomy trading update from AIM-listed sector peer Robert Walters. The group said that a banking sector slow-down in the Asia Pacific region put a dent in net fee income in the second quarter.
After a subdued start, the FTSE 100 finished with impressive gains on Tuesday as investors put aside worries ahead of the key 'risk event' of the week, the monetary policy meeting at the Federal Reserve. [Tue 17:04]
Whitbread was performing well on Tuesday after the company reported a decent first quarter with group sales up 13.8 per cent, boosted by growth at Premier Inn and another strong performance from Costa which saw sales jump by an impressive 24.8 per cent. [Tue 14:34]
The Independent says that the Co-op Bank will this week announce plans to fill a 1.5bn-pound hole in its finances. The rescue, brokered with the Bank of England's Prudential Regulatory Authority, will see 5,000 investors take a haircut on money they lent to the bank. [Mon 06:30]
Foreign-owned bank branches - as opposed to subsidiaries - in Britain made the country's financial crisis worse, as they moved to shrink their loan books by almost half at the height of the credit crunch, according to Bank of England research, The FT Weekend reports. The other factors which explain the implosion seen in bank credit were the higher proportion of lending to businesses, a greater reliance on the more fickle forms of funding and to an extent the role played by Ic [Sun 15:16]
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