Following a subdued reaction to central bank policy decisions yesterday, European markets were lower in early trading on Friday as investors looked ahead to key employment data in the US due out later today.
Stocks on Thursday seemed to shrug off the news that the Bank of England (BoE) ramped up its asset purchase programme and the European Central Bank (ECB) and the People's Bank of China (PBoC) both slashed their benchmark interest rates.
Critics to the BoE move said that the £50bn increase in quantitative easing will only have a marginal effect on the real economy. ECB governing council member Erkki Liikanen said that the European rate cut should not be expected to save the day. Meanwhile, some say that the Chinese decision reflects policymakers' concerns about a 'hard-landing'.
"Risky assets failed to rally yesterday despite policy easing measures in China, the euro area and the UK. With the data calendar otherwise light today, the market's full attention therefore turns to the US employment report," said Barclays Capital analyst Khrishnamoorthy Sooben.
The monthly jobs data from the Labor Department is expected to see over 100,000 non-farm payrolls added in June. The jobless rate is expected to remain at 8.2%.
Aviva ups size of Delta Lloyd disposal
Having promised on Thursday that it would raise money from disposals, insurance giant Aviva moved quickly to act on that pledge by saying it will sell more of its stake in Delta Lloyd than originally intended, prompting a sharp rise in its share price early on.
Food, ingredients and retail firm Associated British Foods rose after saying that it is to buy ethnic flour brand Elephant Atta from Premier Foods for £34m.
Plumbing and heating group Wolseley was being pressured lower after Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating on the stock to 'equal weight'. Meanwhile, Barclays was lower after after Bernstein cut its rating to 'market perform'.
Cooker maker AGA Rangemaster fell after saying that a strong performance in May was followed by a quiet June, as it continues to experience tough trading conditions, particularly in Ireland.
Semi-conductor wafer products provider IQE jump after receiving its first major orders for concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) wafers from Solar Junction, a leading edge CPV cell developer and manufacturer.
Shares in AIM-listed PSG Solutions rocketed after the group saw sales jump from £10.7m to £37.3m in the year to the end of March.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Aviva (AV.) 293.00p +2.95%
G4S (GFS) 290.80p +1.50%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,562.00p +1.36%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,567.00p +1.10%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 157.20p +0.96%
The Guardian says: "Premier Foods, the firm behind Bisto, Hovis and Mr Kipling, is sitting on a pensions timebomb that risks wiping up to a quarter off the value of retirement savings of 60,000 past and present workers if the debt-laden food manufacturer were to slip into insolvency, according to a leading pensions expert." Nevertheless, the company has stressed that bankruptcy remains highly unlikely. [25 Apr '13]
Recently resigned Premier Foods Chief Executive Michael Clarke has left a smell of 'spoilt food' behind him after his 18-month tenure. While he did push through a vital restructuring he left the job half done. In fact, the company's very existence is still in question. Its deficit is expected to double when it finishes its triennial pension valuation, to which one must add 900m pounds in debt. Indeed, Premier needs to sell more businesses, or raise cash in a rights issue, or [21 Apr '13]
Debt laden food manufacturer Premier Foods said it expects to make progress in the year ahead, despite persistently challenging markets, as it posted an increase full year underlying trading profit. [21 Feb '13]
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NETbuilder and Interactive Data.
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