The UK stock market climbed up for a second day rising 0.70% to 6,379.98, in spite of credit rating company Moody’s downgrading the ‘AAA’ credit rating for the UK to ‘AA1′, as the gloom was lifted by the central-bank stimulus speculation in the US and Japan. Traders were also keenly watching the elections in Italy which began on Sunday.
Moody’s reasoned out the UK downgrade, which came after 30 long years, saying that the growth outlook in the medium term remained weak. The British pound took a beating against the euro when the UK markets opened this morning, hitting its lowest level since October 2011. By mid-morning, the pound was down 0.7% at 87.57p per euro, having reached an earlier low of 87.75p.
Banking stocks were among the best performers in the UK stock market today with RBS making gains ahead of its full-year results on Thursday. Standard Chartered was also in demand after Nomura raised its target price by 14% and reiterated its ‘buy’ rating, saying that the stock’s year-to-date outperformance could continue. Barclays and HSBC were also higher.
Consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser fell after the US FDA approved of two unnamed drug manufacturers to produce a generic version of its SUBOXONE tablets. Education and publishing firm Pearson was also lower after the company announced a £150m restructuring programme and gave a gloomy outlook for the industry. Distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl climbed after full-year revenues rose 5% last year, helped by its acquisitions. Rolls-Royce rose after being awarded a $40m contract to supply equipment and related services to power the flow of natural gas through the Uzbekistan section of the Turkmenistan-China natural gas pipeline.
The top ten gainers in the UK stock market today are Royal Bank of Scotland Group (lon:RBS) 357.60p +3.65%, Antofagasta (lon:ANTO) 1,123.00p +3.60%, Barclays (lon:BARC) 316.85p +3.21%, Schroders (lon:SDR) 2,076.00p +2.98%, Evraz (lon:EVR) 276.40p +2.33%, Anglo American (lon:AAL) 1,986.00p +2.27%, Polymetal International (lon:POLY) 1,003.00p +2.09%, Kazakhmys (lon:KAZ) 691.50p +1.99%, BP (lon:BP.) 452.65p +1.94%, and BHP Billiton (lon:BLT) 2,133.50p +1.89%.
The top ten losers in the UK stock market today are Pearson (lon:PSON) 1,149.00p -5.51%, Reckitt Benckiser Group (lon:RB.) 4,356.00p -3.54%, Reed Elsevier (lon:REL) 687.50p -2.41%, Marks & Spencer Group (lon:MKS) 370.70p -1.83%, Whitbread (lon:WTB) 2,593.00p -1.48%, Croda International (lon:CRDA) 2,555.00p -1.35%, Tate & Lyle (lon:TATE) 797.00p -1.30%, Aggreko (lon:AGK) 1,701.00p -1.05%, Next (lon:NXT) 4,208.00p -0.90%, and Intertek Group (lon:ITRK) 3,367.00p -0.85%.