The UK stock market hit a five-year high today rising 0.30% to 6,398.18, buoyed by hopes of more stimulus from Bank of England and falling unemployment figures. The UK stock market reached an intraday high of 6,410 after the news before settling around the 6,400 mark, a level which has not been seen since January 2008.
Rexam, the consumer packaging group, was a high riser despite saying that pre-tax profits fell 11.9% in 2012. The company raised its dividend by 6.0%. Banking group Barclays was also under the weather after Goldman Sachs downgraded its rating for the stock to ‘neutral’ and cut its target price from 350p to 340p. BHP Billiton stocks fell after announcing a new CEO as its half-year profits dropped 58% on the back of weak commodity prices and a strong Australian dollar. RSA Insurance’s shares tanked after the firm unveiled a 33% cut in its annual dividend due to the likelihood for a prolonged period of low bond yields.
Industrial engineering group Weir rose after spending £55m on three acquisition to strengthen its presence in the fast-growing mining markets. Natural gas giant BG Group advanced on reports that Goldman Sachs will assist in analysing options for selling part of the infrastructure linked to its Australian liquefied natural gas project. 4G auction led Vodafone stocks downwards after spending £790m to buy five chunks of spectrum. But BT, which spent £186m on a different band, was in demand.
The top ten gainers in the UK stock market today are Rexam (REX) 500.00p +4.89%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 353.00p +2.29%, Melrose Industries (MRO) 247.90p +2.14%, ARM Holdings (ARM) 960.00p +1.96%, Unilever (ULVR) 2,661.00p +1.92%, Sage Group (SGE) 343.20p +1.78%, Tate & Lyle (TATE) 812.50p +1.63%, British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,444.50p +1.61%, Schroders (SDR) 2,004.00p +1.47%, and BG Group (BG.) 1,163.00p +1.39%.
The top ten losers in the UK stock market today are RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 117.20p -14.01%, Aviva (AV.) 355.90p -3.60%, BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,176.50p -2.66%, Fresnillo (FRES) 1,521.00p -1.68%, Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,655.00p -1.58%, Barclays (BARC) 320.00p -1.54%, Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,083.00p -1.10%, International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 227.90p -0.91%, Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,274.00p -0.86%, and Xstrata (XTA) 1,167.50p -0.85%.