LONDON (Alliance News) - Stocks in London were mixed Thursday at midday, with large- and mid-cap indices firmly in the green as investors anticipate a dovish outlook from Europe's central bank. In London, the FTSE 100 was up 51.64 points, or 0.7%, at 7,271.86 at midday. The FTSE 250 was up 25.33 points, or 0.1%, at 19,097.64. The AIM All-Share was down 1.2 points, or 0.1%, at 938.21.The Cboe UK 100 index was up 0.7% at 12,331.86. The Cboe UK 250 was up 0.2% at 17,156.27, and the Cboe UK Small Companies was marginally higher at 11,732.04.The pound was quoted at USD1.2697 at midday, down from USD1.2725 at the London equities close Wednesday.In Paris the CAC 40 and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt were both higher at midday, gaining 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively. "Stocks in Europe are higher as traders await the update from the European Central Bank. The eurozone is suffering from falling inflation, global trade tensions, and Italy and the EU are engaged in a spat over fiscal rules. The US Federal Reserve hinted they are willing to cut interest rates should they feel it is required, and now the pressure is on the ECB to go down the dovish route. The central bank is tipped to keep the refining rate and the deposit rate on hold at 0.0% and -0.4% respectively, but there is speculation we might hear more details about the planned targeted liquidity scheme which still begin in September," said CMC Market's David Madden.The ECB Governing Council is meeting in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, to announce its latest policy decision at 1245 BST. This will be followed by a press conference with ECB President Mario Draghi at 1330 BST.Analysts expect the ECB to maintain a dovish stance, while focus for investors will likely be on details of the central bank's latest round of targeted longer-term refinancing operations, as well as the latest round of economic projections.Madden added: "This year there has been a big shift in language, and in some cases actions, from central banks. The Fed have moved away from a hawkish view and they now open to potentially cutting rates. The Bank of Japan have used more dovish language recently, while rates have been lowered in Indian and Australia. The ECB are likely to move to a more dovish stance in order to play catch-up with its counterparts, and we might see stocks push even higher."The euro stood at USD1.1236 at midday, lower than USD1.1257 at the European equities close yesterday. Stocks in New York were set for a higher open on Thursday continuing the momentum seen earlier in the week following remarks by Fed Chair Powell that were interpreted by the market as indicating openness to a cut in US interest rates.The DJIA was called up 0.3%, the S&P 500 index up 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite pointed up 0.4%.On the London Stock Exchange at midday, Rolls Royce was among the best performers in the FTSE 100, up 1.9% after the jet engine maker transferred around GBP4.1 billion of pension risk liabilities to Legal & General. Insurance firm L&G was up 1.1%. The deal covers the transfer of assets and liabilities relating to around 33,000 pensioners who are members of the Rolls-Royce UK Pension Fund, out of a total of 76,000 members. Aviva added 1.4% after the insurer said it will separate its UK business in two and cut 1,800 jobs over next three years as part of a plan to simplify the business, reduce costs and remove duplication.Aviva intends to separate its life and general insurance businesses in the UK, with the online direct business being integrated into UK general insurance unit. The company also intends to reduce costs by GBP300 million per annum by 2022 through lower central costs, savings in contractor and consultant spending, reduction in project expenditure, and other efficiencies. The cost savings are expected to lead to 1,800 job cuts over the next three years, out of a total workforce of around 30,000. Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca gained 1.3% at midday after it reported positive results from its trial of Calquence in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer. Astra said that the phase III ELEVATE-TN trial met its primary endpoint early. At the other end of the blue chip index, J Sainsbury, Kingfisher and Vodafone were the biggest losers, as all three stocks went ex-dividend Thursday. The supermarket was down 3.8%, the D&Y store chain down 3.6%, and the mobile operator down 3.4%. In the midcap FTSE 250 index, Entertainment One was the big winner, rising 16%. The film and television content developer surged after announcing that President & Chief Content Officer Mark Gordon will be staying at the company, contrary to reports in media industry magazine Variety. Entertainment One said veteran film and TV producer Gordon remains a part of the company both "now and into the future". Variety reported on Wednesday that Gordon was in talks to abandon the firm after conflict with Entertainment One's senior managers. Go-Ahead was up 9.3% after the public transport operator said it saw an improved trading performance since the start of 2019 as its revenue grew in regional bus and rail divisions. Go-Ahead's full-year expectations for its London & International bus division have been increased due to a "strong operating performance". Go-Ahead said it has seen "high levels of punctuality" across all of its divisions in the year to date.Stobart Group was up 5.9% after Jefferies initiated its coverage of the infrastructure and support services firm with a Buy rating.Mitchells & Butlers was up 4.1% after German investment bank Berenberg upgraded the pub and restaurant manager to Buy from Hold.Woodford Patient Capital Trust spent its third day languishing near the bottom of the FTSE 250, losing another 4.6%. Shares in the closed-end investment trust are down 25% so far in 2019.The UK financial regulator late Wednesday said it may open an investigation into LF Woodford Equity Income Fund if there are circumstances suggesting serious misconduct or non-compliance with its rules. On Monday, high profile fund manager Neil Woodford suspended withdrawals from the equity income fund as the fund's underperformance resulted in a significant outflow of investors. As at April 30, LF Woodford Equity Income Fund had GBP4.3 billion in assets. The equity income fund is managed by Woodford Investment Management, which also manages listed Woodford Patient Capital Trust. Trading in Woodford Patient Capital Trust remains unaffected by the suspension. Before the announcement by the authorities, FTSE 100-listed wealth manager St James's Place said Wednesday it has terminated its mandate with Woodford Investment Management. St James's Place was down 1.1% at midday on Thursday at midday. Still to come in the economics calendar Thursday, are US jobless claims, nonfarm productivity, and trade balance at 1330 BST.
(Alliance News) - Former Stobart Group Ltd boss Andrew Tinkler is considering a bid for Eddie Stobart Logistics PLC, Sky News reported on Tuesday.Eddie Stobart used to be part of Stobart in