The UK stock market was broadly flat this morning at 6,024.98, slipping -0.04%, after exceeding the 6,000-mark yesterday buoyed by the US fiscal cliff deal between the Democrats and the Republicans. Investors showed caution this afternoon as they digested the aftermath of the US fiscal cliff deal which still left unanswered questions on spending cuts and debt ceiling.
As the global markets awoke to the still-fragile US economy, doubts triggered in the minds of traders whether the proposed bill was approved as a temporary measure, which would seem clear in the unwillingness to introduce measures that cover either the spending cuts or the impending debt ceiling. However, the subdued mood of the market was shaken by Next, Britain’s second best clothing retailer which posted a 3.9% rise in sales during the festive period, leading the company to state that its full-year profits would exceed expectations.
Espirito Santo downgraded its ratings to neutral for Compass Group, a contract caterer. Outsourcing firm Serco shares rose after Espirito Santo lifted its ratings to ‘buy’. Buildings and material group CRH ell after it announced that full-year development activity was €0.6bn (£0.48bn), boosted by 18 acquisition and investment initiatives undertaken in the second half.
Experian welcomed the news that Bank of America is ramping up mortgage and corporate lending rates. Seymour Pierce upgraded its rating from ‘reduce’ to ‘add’ as the US mortgage lending business shows signs of improvement.
The top ten gainers in the UK stock market this afternoon are Next 3,854.00p +2.17%, Serco Group 550.50p +1.66%, Aberdeen Asset Management 381.10p +1.49%, Standard Life 346.70p +1.14%, Legal & General Group 150.00p +0.94%, Marks & Spencer Group 386.00p +0.86%, Experian 1,020.00p +0.79%, Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ 2,196.00p +0.76%, Schroders 1,772.00p +0.74%, and Tesco 345.25p +0.73%.
The top ten losers in the UK stock market this afternoon are CRH 1,261.00p -1.71%, Randgold Resources Ltd. 6,150.00p -1.52%, Centrica 336.00p -1.41%, Rio Tinto 3,641.00p -1.35%, Burberry Group 1,248.00p -1.34%, Intertek Group 3,178.00p -1.27%, Croda International 2,358.00p -1.26%, Vedanta Resources 1,207.00p -1.23%, Antofagasta 1,364.00p -1.23%, and Johnson Matthey 2,360.00p -1.17%.