The UK stock market traded flatly this morning with just 10 points separating the FTSE 100′s intraday low and high at 6,039.35, dropping 0.13%, as markets display caution ahead of the US employment report, which will be out in the next few hours.
The UK stocks began in the red this morning as investors digested last night’s release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting Stateside. While there was a clear majority in favour of further asset purchases which included the third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members were divided on the timing of these purchases.
The UK service sector purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the month of December fell to 48.9, after a reading of 50.2 for the previous month, which also contributed to the lows of the UK stock market.Investors are also keen on the jobless forecast figures, which is expected to remain unchanged at 7.7%.
BP shares rose after deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean reached a $1.4bn settlement with US authorities over ”negligent discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico”. Wider resource sector was doing badly this morning with Fresnillo, Randgold, Petrofac and Polymetal all registering losses, while Anglo American shares fell after it agreed to sell its 70% interest in the Amapá iron ore mine in Brazil.
Retailer Marks & Spencers fell after Nomura lowered its full-year (ending March 2013) profit before tax forecast from £694m to £666m. Credit Suisse downgraded real estate investment trust Hammerson’s stocks to neutral leading to a dip in its stock price.
The top ten gainers in the UK stock market this afternoon are BP 448.50p +1.54%, Standard Life 350.50p +1.18%, British American Tobacco 3,158.50p +1.10%, Experian 1,026.00p +1.08%, Hargreaves Lansdown 711.50p +1.07%, Tate & Lyle 790.00p +1.02%, BT Group 240.20p +0.80%, Burberry Group 1,271.00p +0.79%, SSE 1,460.00p +0.69%, and Bunzl 1,028.00p +0.59%.
The top ten losers in the UK stock market this afternoon are Fresnillo 1,778.00p -5.68%, Randgold Resources Ltd. 5,995.00p -3.77%, Polymetal International 1,174.00p -3.69%, Marks & Spencer Group 375.10p -3.42%, Anglo American 1,970.50p -2.18%, Kazakhmys 808.00p -2.18%, Evraz 274.80p -2.07%, Antofagasta 1,344.00p -1.90%, Rio Tinto 3,592.00p -1.82%, and Hammerson 488.20p -1.79%.