London midday: Stocks extend gains ahead of key speeches; Provident Financial rallies

Fri 25 Aug 2017

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks had extended gains by midday on Friday, helped along by solid performances from Provident Financial and Computacenter as investors awaited speeches from two of the world's most powerful central bankers.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.4% to 7,437.47, while the pound was up 0.3% versus the dollar at 1.2837 and 0.1% firmer against the euro at 1.0862 ahead of speeches by Fed chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi at the Jackson Hole Symposium later in the day.

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "The Jackson Hole Symposium is widely regarded as one of the most notable annual events, not only because of the speakers it attracts but also because it has been used as a platform to warn of upcoming policy announcements. In the past it has been Janet Yellen's predecessors - Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke - that have delivered such warnings, the question today is whether she will do the same.

"The final months of the year are going to be very interesting as far as the Fed and the ECB are concerned which makes today's appearances from Fed Chair Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi all the more interesting. Both central banks have started the process of tightening monetary policy, although the ECB would probably claim it's more a case of removing accommodation. Either way, with the process underway, investors are keen to know what they plan next."

On the corporate front, 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 13% 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, while Shire was given a shot in the arm by an initiation at 'buy' at Kepler Cheuvreux. However, 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.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,437.47 0.41%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,737.67 0.14%
techMARK (TASX) 3,406.03 0.49%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Provident Financial (PFG) 900.00p 20.32%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,454.00p 2.61%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,209.00p 2.54%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,786.00p 2.46%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 445.20p 2.04%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,032.00p 1.78%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,328.00p 1.66%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,608.00p 1.58%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,702.00p 1.55%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,348.50p 1.54%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 6,815.00p -1.87%
Tesco (TSCO) 184.35p -1.65%
WPP (WPP) 1,440.00p -1.50%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 312.00p -1.39%
Kingfisher (KGF) 294.00p -1.34%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 249.50p -1.11%
Centrica (CNA) 197.90p -0.95%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,574.00p -0.94%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 235.20p -0.84%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 999.50p -0.74%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Computacenter (CCC) 1,000.00p 13.51%
Carillion (CLLN) 50.50p 7.47%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 97.50p 5.41%
IWG (IWG) 308.30p 4.54%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,290.00p 4.28%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 832.00p 2.34%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,828.00p 2.18%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 459.80p 2.16%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 250.50p 2.12%
AA (AA.) 172.70p 2.01%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Hunting (HTG) 414.60p -2.95%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 264.30p -2.47%
Assura (AGR) 65.45p -2.24%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,509.00p -2.13%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 333.30p -2.09%
Unite Group (UTG) 668.00p -2.05%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 412.10p -1.76%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 345.00p -1.43%
Playtech (PTEC) 981.50p -1.41%
Polymetal International (POLY) 943.00p -1.36%
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