Miners dragged the Footsie into the red on Friday morning after Australia cut its economic growth forecast. Markets were showing caution ahead of non-farm payroll data due out in the US later today and elections this weekend France, Greece, Italy and Germany.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) now expects gross domestic product (GDP) to expand by 3% in 2012, lower than its earlier forecast of 3.5% in February. Consumer prices are expected to increase by 2.5% down from 3%.
"Exports have been revised lower, largely reflecting a reassessment of the ability of mining companies to utilise new transport and port capacity fully in the near term, along with weaker manufacturing exports," the RBA said today.
In domestic news, UK house prices fell by 2.4% month-on-month (-0.5% year-on-year) in April, to £159,883, according to mortgage lender Halifax. That marks the largest drop in one and a half years and comes after the expiry of the stamp-duty exemption and the economy went back into recession territory.
FTSE 100: Core RBS operating profit rises sharply
Nationalised lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was a high riser early on after its first-quarter results. The group is to repay the final tranche of notes issued under the government's Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) next week, after posting a profit of more than a billion pounds in the first three months of 2012. Excluding own credit adjustments, pre-tax profit totalled £1,052m.
Mining stocks were out of favour on the back of concerns over weaker growth in Australia. Antofagasta, ENRC, Rio Tinto, Xstrata and Anglo American were among the worst performers on the Footsie.
Oil giant Tullow dropped after saying that its Teak-4A appraisal well in the West Cape Three Points Block, offshore Ghana (in which it owns a 26.4% stake), encountered "thin, non-commercial reservoirs" and is, in turn, being plugged and abandoned.
Power systems group Rolls-Royce fell after giving a brief trading update this morning, reassuring that trading since the start of the year has been consistent with previous guidance.
FTSE 250: Rentokil, Laird out of favour after updates
Pest control and hygiene services group Rentokil Initial was unwanted after saying that operating profits fell year-on-year mainly as a result of higher central costs and losses at its City Link franchise.
Laird, which makes antennas and heat protection components often used in tablet computers and smartphones, says difficult trading conditions have continued into the first quarter, although it expects a 'seasonal uplift'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 25.06p +2.08%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 32.03p +1.22%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 520.00p +1.17%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 711.50p +1.07%
Oil and gas company Afren saw its shares rise strongly after it achieved a six per cent rise in third quarter pre-tax profit to 427m dollars, driven by an increase in revenue and production. [31 Oct '13]
Results season takes a bit of a break over the course of the week ahead, with only a handful of FTSE 350 companies unveiling their numbers, while traders will be absorbed with a raft of economic data on the east and west sides of the Atlantic and Monday's GDP figures from Japan. [9 Aug '13]
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NETbuilder and Interactive Data.
While London South East do their best to maintain the high quality of the information displayed on this site,
we cannot be held responsible for any loss due to incorrect information found here. All information is provided free of charge, 'as-is', and you use it at your own risk!
The contents of all 'Chat' messages should not be construed as advice and represent the opinions of the authors, not those of London South East Limited, or its affiliates.
London South East does not authorise or approve this content, and reserves the right to remove items at its discretion.