Markets rocketed on Friday afternoon after European leaders showed their commitment to protect the Eurozone and US economic data beat expectations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande issued a statement today saying that their countries are "bound by the deepest duty" to keep the Eurozone intact and that they will do "everything" necessary to protect the single currency.
This follows comments made by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi yesterday, who said that the ECB would do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro...and believe me, it will be big enough". Unsurprisingly, this lead to heightened speculation that the ECB may be prepared to buy bonds of under-pressure Eurozone countries in order to drive down yields.
Whilst the remarks did their bit to lift sentiment today, a spokesman from Germany's Bundesbank said that the central bank maintains its opposition to bond purchases by the ECB, saying that they are "problematic" and "not the most sensible" tool.
Meanwhile, the US economy grew by 1.5% in the second quarter, down from the 2.0% growth seen in the first three months of the year but slightly ahead of the 1.4% consensus estimate.
"This does little to change our outlook for H2 and is unlikely to shift policymakers decisively in one direction or the other in their debate about the need for further stimulus. We continue to expect no further easing from the Fed at next week's FOMC meeting," said analyst Peter Newland from Barclays Capital.
FTSE 100: Barclays jumps after beating forecasts
Barclays's underlying pre-tax profits came in at £4.2bn, 11% ahead of consensus estimates, with investment banking division Barclays Capital leading the charge. Meanwhile, revenues of £15.5bn were 2% ahead of forecasts. Investors shrugged off the news of a new regulatory investigation - this time over fees it paid to advisors when it raised fresh capital in the middle of the credit crunch - with shares racing nearly 9% ahead. Sector peers Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered also rose.
Leading the downside was publishing group Pearson after operating profits came in shy of expectations as it admitted that the first half has been a little tougher than expected for some parts of the business.
Mining colossus Anglo American dropped after first-half profits plunged from $6,571m to just $2,942m on the back of weaker commodity prices and input cost pressures. Adding to the company's woes, it has encountered legal hurdles on its Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil.??
Commodities giant Glencore rose as it came closer to completing the £3.9bn takeover of Canadian agricultural grain handler Viterra after being given the all-clear by Australian authorities.
FTSE 250: Strong top-line growth at UBM
Exhitbitions group and business publisher UBM was a high riser after reporting strong underlying revenue growth in the first half and revealing that it is "exploring strategic options" for its Data Services division.
AG Barr, the soft drinks group, was losing its fizz as margins came under pressure, with the recent heavy rainfall in the UK only adding to the gloom.
High Street bookie William Hill surged after improving profits by 13% in the first half, with online and mobile businesses driving growth.
Coal and coke group New World Resources dropped despite maintaining its full-year production and sales targets. The first revealed that while production was up in the second quarter (from the first), realised prices slipped.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Barclays (BARC) 167.00p +8.72%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,659.00p +3.69%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 30.20p +3.67%
Evraz (EVR) 228.50p +3.53%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 214.50p +3.17%
ITV (ITV) 78.20p +3.10%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 895.50p +3.05%
CRH (CRH) 1,204.00p +2.99%
Prudential (PRU) 769.00p +2.88%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 332.50p +2.78%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pearson (PSON) 1,230.00p -4.95%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,894.00p -3.56%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 693.00p -1.21%
Capital Shopping Centres Group (CSCG) 322.00p -1.20%
Mining stocks were under pressure as commodity prices declined with precious metals peers Fresnillo and Randgold tracking gold and silver lower early on. As well, in a research note issued today analysts at Citi wrote that: "We remain underweight the gold and base metals stocks and our least favoured name among the large-cap miners is Anglo American." Acting as a backdrop, November manufacturing sector purchasing managers“ survey results in China, the Eurozone and the US all [Mon 15:42]
Lloyds Banking Group on Monday confirmed that Lord Blackwell, who has been a Non-Executive Director of the group since June 2012, will succeed Sir Winfried Bischoff as Chairman with effect from April 3rd 2014, when Sir Winfried is due to retire. [Mon 13:16]
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