London midday: Stocks inch higher but Greek uncertainty limits upside

Date: Tuesday 14 Apr 2015

London midday: Stocks inch higher but Greek uncertainty limits upside

A rebound in the mining sector and data showing that the UK economy narrowly avoided deflation gave stock markets a small boost on Tuesday, though uncertainty in Athens was limiting upside.
Reports that Greece is preparing for a debt default if it can't reach a deal with its creditors were likely keeping a lid on gains, especially with stocks already trading near record highs.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.12% at 7,072.44 by midday, continuing to trade below the all-time closing high of 7,089.77 reached on Friday.

The British economy avoided a dip into deflation with official figures showing the UK consumer price inflation rate remained at a record low of 0% in March. Cheaper clothing and footwear helped to maintain prices for a second month, according figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Inflation could yet dip into negative territory at some point in the coming months, said Vicky Redwood, economist at Capital Economics. "While there is a danger that this affects pay growth and inflation expectations, prompting a more prolonged period of zero inflation, this looks unlikely to us," she said.

In other economic data, US retail sales at 13:30 is forecast to have risen by 1% in March after a 0.6% decline in February.

Greece on Monday evening denied a report in the Financial Times that cited a government official as saying that there is "no alternative" to a default if Athens does not reach a deal with its lenders. The paper said Greece was withholding €2.5bn of payments due to the International Monetary Fund in May and June if no agreement is made.

"Greece [...] is not preparing for any debt default and the same goes for its lenders. Negotiations are proceeding swiftly towards a mutually beneficial solution," the office of prime minister Alexis Tsipras said in a statement.

Mining stocks rebound, Hargreaves Lansdown falls

Mining stocks were putting in a decent performance, rebounding after heavy losses on Monday when a number of investment banks shaved their price targets for iron ore over the coming years. BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American were all in demand.

Peter Hargreaves, the co-founder of group Hargreaves Lansdown, stepped down from the board, causing shares in the financial services provider to drop.

Tullow Oil's share price surged after Citigroup raised its rating on the stock from 'neutral' to 'buy', saying that the oil group's portfolio quality was "undervalued" by the market.

Aberdeen Asset Management shares fell after a rating downgrade of the company's stock to 'underperform' from 'sector perform' by RBC Capital Markets, while oil major BP had its rating dropped to 'neutral' from 'buy' over at Citigroup as it believes 'value' is now reflected in the share price.

Making gains was Poundland after a trading update showed the discount retailer had topped a billion pounds of annual sales for the first time with revenue in final quarter excluding the Spanish business up 6.5%.

UK hospital operator Spire Healthcare dropped sharply after private equity group Cinven sold down its stake to 38.3% with a £136m share sale. Meanwhile, reports that Ithmar Capital was planning to sell a stake worth £216m in Dubai-based Al Noor sent shares into the red.

Market Movers
techMARK 3,261.73 +0.03%
FTSE 100 7,072.44 +0.12%
FTSE 250 17,866.47 +0.21%

FTSE 100 - Risers
Anglo American (AAL) 1,022.50p +2.38%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,878.50p +2.29%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,444.00p +1.98%
Glencore (GLEN) 289.45p +1.51%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 732.00p +1.39%
Fresnillo (FRES) 719.00p +1.34%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 357.80p +1.30%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,594.00p +1.27%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,087.00p +1.04%
Capita (CPI) 1,158.00p +0.96%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,197.00p -3.23%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 494.50p -2.37%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,083.00p -2.08%
Shire Plc (SHP) 5,565.00p -2.02%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 544.00p -1.54%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 601.00p -1.48%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 452.90p -1.29%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,871.00p -1.11%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,958.00p -1.07%
Pearson (PSON) 1,428.00p -1.04%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 362.60p +6.80%
Lonmin (LMI) 131.00p +4.30%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 114.60p +3.71%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 536.50p +3.67%
Serco Group (SRP) 148.30p +2.99%
Poundland Group (PLND) 341.40p +2.83%
Hunting (HTG) 571.50p +2.79%
esure Group (ESUR) 218.90p +2.67%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 225.10p +2.46%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 276.40p +2.37%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 333.90p -9.04%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 924.00p -6.90%
Card Factory (CARD) 313.00p -2.25%
Allied Minds (ALM) 710.00p -2.07%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 477.40p -1.85%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 167.10p -1.59%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 171.70p -1.55%
Man Group (EMG) 212.70p -1.44%
Carillion (CLLN) 323.80p -1.37%
De La Rue (DLAR) 590.00p -1.34%


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