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FTSE, oil and gold bounce back after QE sell off

by Gavin Lumsden on Feb 22, 2013 at 09:45

FTSE, oil and gold bounce back after QE sell off

An overnight recovery in Asia markets helped the FTSE 100 bounce back after yesterday’s 103 point fall.

The blue chip index gained 47 points or 0.7% to 6,337 in early trading, led by miners Kazakhmys (KAZ.L) and Antofagasta (ANTO.L), each up over 3%. Melrose Industries (MRON.L), the engineering takeover specialist, found favour, rising 2.7% or 6.6p to 972p

Security group G4S (GFS.L) was the biggest faller, down 1.3% or 3.8p to 286p, after analysts at HSBC cut their rating on the stock to ‘underweight’ from ‘neutral’.

No important economic data from the UK or US is scheduled today but official figures from Germany have confirmed its economy shrank 0.6% in the last quarter of 2012 as exports plunged in response to the recession in parts of the eurozone.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 also rebounded eight points or 0.7% at 1,159.

The pound remained weak on currency markets after it was revealed this week the governor of the Bank of England had voted to extend its quantitative easing ‘money printing’ programme. David Miles (pictured), external member of the Bank's monetary policy committee, has said the Bank may need to create a further £175 billion of electronic money to prop up the UK economy.

The Bank has so far created £375 billion of money which it has largely used to buy gilts to lower long-term borrowing costs.

The euro firmed 0.13% to 86.58p although the pound did claw back some ground against the dollar at $1.5270, up 0.12%. Sterling began the year at $1.6183.

Gold recovered 0.5% or $7.6 to trade at $1,583 an ounce as investors reckoned the precious metal had fallen too far and that its inflation protection powers are still attractive. Gold has fallen from $1,691 in the past month.

Oil also clawed back lost ground with Brent crude trading above $114 a barrel after falling nearly 2% yesterday. It is still heading for a 3% loss for the week.

In London Millennium & Copthorne (MLC.L) fell 15p or 2.6% to 553p after the hotel group said strong competition had cut revenues per room by 1.1% in the first six weeks of 2013. Underlying pre-tax profits for 2012 fell 15% to £157.7 million. Chairman Kwek Leng Beng is the majority shareholder of the £1.8 billion group through his Singapore-based property company City Developments.

Elsewhere Bumi (BUMIP.L) slid 13p or 3.3% to 378.3p after yesterday’s defeat for co-founder Nat Rothschild’s attempts to replace the board of the beleaguered miner, which he set up with the Indonesian Bakrie family.

By contrast EasyJet (EZJ.L) added 7p or 0.7% to £10.03 after the board of the budget airline yesterday survived another challenge by founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou at the company's annual general meeting. EasyJet is a Citywire Top Stock held in the top 10 of both Thomas Dobell's M&G Recovery fund and the Standard Life Investments UK Equity Unconstrained fund run by Ed Legget.

ITV (ITV.L) gained 1.8p or 1.5% to 122.25p after The Times reported that media regulator Ofcom backed the commercial broadcaster's plan to cut back on regional new.

Oil explorer Bowleven (BLVN.L) pleased investors and gained 8% or 6p to 82.3p after its IM-5 drilling well off the coast of Cameroon found oil rather than gas. The company is backed by BlackRock, M&G, JP Morgan and F&C Asset Management. Its shares have risen 17% this year valuing the company at £243 million.

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

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