|CATEGORY: MARKET REPORT - OPENING
Fri 25 Aug 2017
LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks nudged higher in early trade as investors eyed speeches by Fed chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi at the Jackson Hole Symposium later in the day, with volumes lighter than usual as we head into the Bank Holiday weekend.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.2% to 7,420.73, while the pound was flat against the dollar at 1.2802 and 0.2% firmer versus the euro at 1.0866. Volumes on the main index were down 34% versus the 100-day average.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "It looks like it is going to be one of those days, with the European markets snoozing their way through the open."
"That's because the day's main events - the Jackson Hole Symposium speeches from Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi - aren't until this evening, leaving investors in a state of anticipatory reticence. With little else to fill the gap between now and then the European indices seem decidedly uninterested in doing anything, barely budging after the bell."
Henry Croft at Accendo Markets said Yellen may well be overshadowed by her European counterpart.
"The ECB president has made a habit of going off script at Jackson Hole in the past, and whilst a report from Reuters last week stated insiders believed no major policy announcements were to be made, many are hoping he may let slip an implicit hint at the start date of the ECB's long-awaited QE taper."
Corporate news was thin on the ground.
Troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial rallied after it announced that it has replaced the managing director of its consumer credit division, appointing Chris Gillespie "with immediate effect". Gillespie takes over from Andy Parkinson, the company said in a statement. Shares in Provident tanked by 66% on Tuesday after an unexpected profit warning and the resignation of chief executive Peter Crook.
FTSE 250 IT services provider Computacenter surged as it reported a 15% jump in first-half revenue thanks in part to favourable currency movements and an "outstanding" performance in its German business, and said it remains on track for a record performance in 2017. It also said it expects to return around £100m to shareholders in the fourth quarter.
Direct Line was boosted by an upgrade to 'outperform' at Exane BNP Paribas, but Renishaw was weaker on the back of a downgrade to 'sell' at Investec.
Elsewhere, the results of a survey released earlier showed UK consumer sentiment ticked higher in August as Britons felt more secure about their security and grew more positive on the outlook for home prices. YouGov/Cebr's consumer confidence index rose from 107.2 in July to 107.6 this month.
Yet households' perception of their finances worsened for a fifth month running, the longest such stretch since the survey began.
"Although this month's consumer confidence figures bring good news, they have to be placed in context - they have not yet returned to where they were ahead of the election," said YouGov analyst Stephen Harmston.
There are no major UK data releases due.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,420.73 0.18%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,729.16 0.10%
techMARK (TASX) 3,404.23 0.44%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Provident Financial (PFG) 782.50p 4.61%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 444.60p 1.90%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,755.00p 1.62%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 389.30p 1.04%
Old Mutual (OML) 209.70p 1.01%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,308.00p 0.79%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,428.00p 0.78%
ITV (ITV) 162.90p 0.74%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,672.00p 0.73%
GKN (GKN) 322.40p 0.69%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
WPP (WPP) 1,440.00p -1.50%
Tesco (TSCO) 185.60p -0.99%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 313.50p -0.92%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,578.00p -0.69%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 235.80p -0.59%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,955.00p -0.51%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,496.50p -0.50%
Royal Mail (RMG) 394.20p -0.48%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 3,846.00p -0.41%
SEGRO (SGRO) 528.50p -0.38%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Computacenter (CCC) 997.00p 13.17%
Carillion (CLLN) 49.93p 6.26%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,829.00p 2.24%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 612.00p 1.66%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 930.00p 1.64%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 299.50p 1.53%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 157.20p 1.35%
IP Group (IPO) 120.00p 1.27%
Softcat (SCT) 412.20p 1.13%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 824.00p 1.10%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Restaurant Group (RTN) 329.70p -3.14%
Greencore Group (GNC) 184.90p -2.68%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,498.00p -2.37%
Hunting (HTG) 417.60p -2.25%
Assura (AGR) 65.80p -1.72%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 177.80p -1.66%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 642.00p -1.53%
Coats Group (COA) 75.75p -1.43%
Playtech (PTEC) 985.00p -1.05%
Sanne Group (SNN) 773.00p -0.90%