London close: Barclays leads stocks higher as risk appetite increases



LONDON (ShareCast) - Strong gains in the banking sector helped push the FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) one per cent higher on Tuesday afternoon, as markets welcomed news of a turnaround plan at UK lender Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) .

"European stock markets picked up some pace in Tuesday's session as traders upped their exposure to risk following recent weakness across global equities," said market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital.

Stocks shrugged off earlier concerns about global currency wars to finish higher. However, over the next few days, analysts expect the mood to be cautious ahead of the G20 meeting at the end of the week.

The G7 released a statement this morning saying that it will allow markets to determine currency exchange rates. "We will not target exchange rates", the announcement said.

Providing some support this morning was the news that credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's has changed its outlook on Ireland (OTC BB: IRLD - news) from 'negative' to 'stable'.

The move reflects its expectation that the exchange of promissory notes for longer-term government bonds significantly reduces the Irish government's debt-servicing costs and refinancing risk, and supports medium-term fiscal consolidation.

Meanwhile, the UK CPI inflation rate remained at an annual rate of 2.7% in January, unchanged for a fourth month in a row as expected. Speaking of Barclays, this is what they had to say on today's figuers "overall, the news has been marginally to the downside, stemming predominantly from today's release, in which the 2.7% out-turn for January CPI inflation was below our forecast of 2.9%. We now forecast CPI (Other OTC: CPIC - news) inflation of 2.7% in 2013, compared with 2.8% previously, while our forecast for 2014 is 0.2pp lower at 2.4%.

"We now expect CPI inflation to dip slightly to 2.6% in February, but thereafter see a mini-surge building, with inflation rising to 3.3% in June before subsiding gradually."

Traders were also digesting yesterday's Eurogroup meeting, where Eurozone finance ministers refrained from taking any action on either the strength of the euro or the Cyprus bailout.

FTSE 100: Barclays jumps 8.3% on turnaround plan

UK banking group Barclays soared today despite missing profit forecasts in 2012, as market celebrated the details of its strategic review, which includes 3,700 jobs cuts. Adjusted profits before tax grew 26% to £7.05bn in 2012, but came in around 2.0% shy of consensus forecasts.

Sector peers Lloyds and RBS (LSE: RBS.L - news) were also making strong gains.

Reckitt Benckiser Group, the British consumer goods company, rose on news it has signed a three-year collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), under which Reckitt will license a number of Latin American consumer health care brands from BMS.

Heading the other way was aerospace and defence giant BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) after JPMorgan Cazenove said that the company faces "major structural problems" and is likely to underperform peers over the next 12-24 months.

Engineering (Milan: ENG.MI - news) giant GKN (LSE: GKN.L - news) was taking a hit, most likely because tyre-maker Michelin (Paris: FR0000121261 - news) warned that sales and earnings are likely not grow this year due to the recession on the Continent.

Merger partners Xstrata (Other OTC: XSRAF - news) and Glencore were both unwanted after publishing production reports for 2012. The firms also said the merger was still waiting on the approvals of regulators in China, amongst other things.

FTSE 100: Bumi lifted by improved production

Bumi plc said coal sales and production grew during the fourth quarter in the wake of company infighting with co-founder Nat Rothschild.

Sales were up 30% to 6.5m tonnes and output grew 15% to 5.9m tonnes over the last three months of 2012 at Indonesian business PT Berau Coal Energy, in which Bumi owns an 85% stake. Trading volumes today were not particularly sharp, but the company does seem to have managed to close above technical resistance at 400p.

Fidessa was heading higher after its full-year results yesterday. The stock was upgraded today by Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) to 'buy'.

Ocado Group (Other OTC: OCDGF - news) was a high riser, continuing Monday's gains on takeover speculation and market chatter to that effect.

Diploma (LSE: DPLM.L - news) fell after Canaccord Genuity retained its 'hold' rating on the stock, with a target price of 570p.

FTSE 100 - Risers
Barclays (BARC) 327.35p +8.57%
Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY.L - news) (LLOY) 55.45p +5.12%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 354.20p +4.08%
Aberdeen Asset Management (Other OTC: ABDNF - news) (ADN) 412.90p +3.17%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,363.00p +3.02%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 221.80p +2.64%
Sage Group (LSE: SGE.L - news) (SGE) 343.20p +2.63%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 262.60p +2.54%
ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L - news) (ARM) 925.00p +2.38%
Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF.L - news) (ABF) 1,794.00p +2.28%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
BAE Systems (BA.) 330.40p -1.81%
GKN (GKN) 254.80p -1.20%
Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO.L - news) (ANTO) 1,121.00p -1.06%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,785.00p -1.03%
Amec (LSE: AMEC.L - news) (AMEC (Other OTC: AMCBF - news) ) 1,091.00p -1.00%
Reed Elsevier (LSE: REL.L - news) (REL) 687.00p -0.94%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,622.00p -0.73%
Vedanta Resources (Other OTC: VDNRF - news) (VED) 1,265.00p -0.71%
ITV (ITV (LSE: ITV.L - news) ) 114.80p -0.69%
Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ.L - news) (KAZ) 749.00p -0.53%

FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 137.10p +7.70%
Fidessa Group (LSE: FDSA.L - news) (FDSA) 1,655.00p +4.95%
Bumi (BUMI) 404.00p +4.91%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,312.00p +4.71%
Unite Group (LSE: UTG.L - news) (UTG (Other OTC: UTGN - news) ) 303.00p +4.48%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 260.00p +4.42%
Man Group (LSE: EMG.L - news) (EMG) 105.10p +4.27%
Pace (PIC) 238.50p +4.19% Group (MONY) 205.10p +3.85%
Grainger (GRI) 139.40p +3.80%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Diploma (DPLM) 570.00p -2.90%
Supergroup (SES: E1:S10.SI - news) (SGP) 698.00p -2.79%
Lonmin (LMI) 369.10p -2.61%
African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG.L - news) (ABG) 341.00p -2.40%
RIT Capital Partners (RCP) 1,146.00p -1.55%
ICAP (IAP) 352.20p -1.54%
Carpetright (CPR) 675.00p -1.46%
Catlin Group Ltd (LSE: CGL.L - news) . (CGL) 508.50p -1.45%
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,608.00p -1.29%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 345.70p -1.20%