Citywire for Financial Professionals
Stay connected:

View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a647029

FTSE holds on to gains as 'cliff' talks stall

UK and European markets held steady despite a setback in President Obama's talks with Republicans over the US 'fiscal cliff'.

 
FTSE holds on to gains as 'cliff' talks stall

UK and European stock markets took a souring in the crucial US fiscal cliff talks into their stride and hung on to the gains of recent days.

After falling in early trading, the FTSE 100 regained its poise in quiet pre-Christmas markets to trade just four points higher at 5,965, despite the release of poor UK retail sales figures.

The Euronext 100 index also rebounded to trade fractionally lower at 686.5.

This followed falls overnight on Wall Street and in Asia triggered by US Republican plans to put an alternative tax plan to a vote this week. This broke the positive mood that has seen the ‘Grand Old Party’ and its Democrat opponents both make concessions in their urgent budget talks this week.

Yen dips on BoJ move

There was a similar mood of uncertainty on currency markets where the yen initially strengthened as traders expressed disappointment at the scale of the Bank of Japan’s latest shot of monetary stimulus.

However, the yen subsequently slipped 0.4% to 84 yen against the dollar, continuing a trend of recent weeks as traders took the view that the 10 trillion yen of asset purchases, a form of quantitative easing comparable to similar policies by the Bank of England and US Federal Reserve, were in line with expectations.

This is the third time in four months the BoJ has tried to stimulate inflation and weaken the yen in a bid to help the nation’s exporters lift the country out of recession.

Retail sales disappoint

The pound rose against the dollar, despite retail sales rising at an annual rate of just 0.9% in November, well below inflation.

Analysts said the disappointing figures, which followed a shock fall in October, increased the likelihood that the UK economy will have shrunk in the last quarter of the year.

The only bright spot was a 3.8% monthly rise in sales at household goods stores, boosted by Apple’s launch of its iPad Mini tablet computer.

Weir leads the way

Weir (WEIR.L) led the FTSE 100 with a 2.9% or 52p rise to £18.64 after splashing $240 million on its latest acquisition, US oil equipment firm Mathena. The shares were boosted by analysts at Investec raising their target price for shares in the pump and valves manufacturer to £21 from £20.20.

This has been a difficult year for Weir, a Citywire Top Stock due to its top 10 position in the AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities fund run by Nigel Thomas. Its shares have fallen 8% over concerns at the slowdown in the US oil sector caused by the boom in shale gas.

There was no clear theme in the big risers with Aggreko (AGGK.L), the provider of temporary power generators, gaining 2.6% or 44p to £17.45 and fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management (AND.L) 1.7% or 6.3p better at 364.7p.

Meanwhile Bunzl (BNZL.L) was the biggest FTSE 100 faller for a second day, down a further 2.3% or 23.5p to 996.8p after yesterday’s trading statement prompted profit taking in the distribution specialist.

Thomas Cook (TCG.L) edged over a penny higher to 43.8p after broker Peel Hunt caught up with events and upgraded the travel agency to ‘hold’ from ‘sell’ and raised its target price to 41p from 10p. This has been a great year for Thomas Cook, with its shares up 198% in response to the recovery plan brought in by new chief executive Harriet Green.

Go-Ahead (GOG.L) shares shrugged off the corporate embarrassment of a ‘yellow card’ from the government over chronic delays on its London Midlands franchise, dipping 0.8p to £12.88. The Department of Transport is forcing the company to spend £7 million on compensating passengers for the poor service.  

See our FTSE data pages for today's other risers and fallers

leave a comment

Please sign in here or register here to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

News sponsored by:

The Citywire guide to investment trusts

In association with Aberdeen Asset Management

Fund managers from Standard Life Investments quizzed on investment trusts


What can SLI bring to the table for those who want to put their money into investment trusts?

More about this:

Look up the funds

Look up the shares

  • Weir Group PLC (WEIR.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them
  • Aggreko PLC (AGGK.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them
  • Aberdeen Asset Management PLC (ADN.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them
  • Bunzl PLC (BNZL.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them
  • Thomas Cook Group PLC (TCG.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them
  • Go-Ahead Group PLC (GOG.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them
  • Amlin PLC (AML.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them
  • Lancashire Holdings Ltd (LRE.L)
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them

Look up the fund managers

  • Nigel Thomas
    Register or Sign in to receive email alerts for items in your favourites whenever we write about them

More from us

Archive

Today's articles

Tools from Citywire Money

From the Forums

+ Start a new discussion

Weekly email from The Lolly

Get simple, easy ways to make more from your money. Just enter your email address below

An error occured while subscribing your email. Please try again later.

Thank you for registering for your weekly newsletter from The Lolly.

Keep an eye out for us in your inbox, and please add noreply@emails.citywire.co.uk to your safe senders list so we don't get junked.

Sorry, this link is not
quite ready yet