LONDON (ShareCast) - Stocks were trading within a narrow range on Friday morning ahead of the G20 meeting in Moscow and the release of key economic indicators in the States this afternoon.
Delegates plan to discuss traditional issues such as the global economic outlook, implementation of the G20 framework agreement for strong, sustainable growth, as well as financial regulation reforms.
The greatest focus for the market, however, will be the issue of the so-called "currency wars". After the G7 issued a statement promising to allow markets to determine exchange rates, there appears to have been some confusion over the message being misinterpreted as allowing Japan to depreciate the yen in order to support its economy.
European Central Bank council member Jens Weidmann has said today that the Bank would not cut interest rates in order to reverse the recent rise in the euro. He said that the exchange rate of the euro "is broadly in line with fundamentals" and the single currency is not overvalued.
Market sentiment was still a little fragile after disappointing fourth-quarter economic growth figures from the Eurozone and Japan. The Eurozone contracted by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter (consensus estimate: -0.4%) while Japan saw its economic activity decline 0.4% on an annualised basis (consensus estimate: +0.4%).
In domestic news this morning, UK retail sales dropped by 0.5% in January, surprising analysts who had expected a 0.5% rise. New York manufacturing and US consumer sentiment data is due out this afternoon, which are certain to draw the attention of traders when Wall Street opens in the coming hours.
FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) : Anglo gains despite $4.6bn impairment charge
Mining giant Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) was a high riser this morning despite recording $4.6bn of impairment charges in 2012. However, while underlying earnings took a hit from falling commodity prices, ongoing cost pressures and a loss-making platinum business, they still managed to beat consensus forecast.
Analysts at Jefferies said that they are "becoming more positive on Anglo shares", adding that the worst could now be over. They also said that "there is a possibility that the merged Glenstrata attempts to acquire the company at some point".
Sector peers Randgold and Fresnillo (Other OTC: FNLPF - news) were heading the other way after Citigroup (NYSE: C - news) cut its ratings for both stocks to 'sell' and reduced target prices.
Similarly, sweeteners and food products firm Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE.L - news) was hit after Exane BNP Paribas lowered its rating to 'neutral'.
Chemicals group Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT.L - news) fell after saying that it is to lose commission income from restructuring a metal supply deal with Anglo American Platinum.
Natural gas firm BG Group (LSE: BG.L - news) was in the red after announcing that Chief Financial Officer Fabio Barbosa is stepping down and becoming Chairman of BG South America.
FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) : Tullett Prebon (LSE: TLPR.L - news) dragged into LIBOR scandal
Interdealer broker Tullett Prebon sank after being drawn into the LIBOR scandal. Reports suggest that an individual at the firm was part of conversations about rigging the yen LIBOR rate, according to the Financial Times.
Gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG.L - news) was lower after Citi downgraded its recommendation to 'neutral'. Meanwhile, engineering and software group Invensys (LSE: ISYS.L - news) was performing well after Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) lifted its view to 'overweight'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ITV (ITV (LSE: ITV.L - news) ) 117.00p +3.17%
Shire Plc (LSE: SHP.L - news) (SHP) 2,077.00p +2.47%
Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO.L - news) (ANTO) 1,135.00p +1.70%
Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ.L - news) (KAZ) 760.50p +1.54%
WPP (WPP (LSE: WPP.L - news) ) 1,034.00p +1.47%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,041.00p +1.39%
ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L - news) (ARM) 935.50p +1.14%
Weir Group (Other OTC: WEIGY - news) (WEIR) 2,193.00p +1.06%
Vedanta Resources (Other OTC: VDNRF - news) (VED) 1,295.00p +1.01%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,963.00p +0.98%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,595.00p -3.63%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,600.00p -3.45%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 783.50p -2.25%
Kingfisher (KGF) 270.00p -2.07%
Pearson (LSE: PSON.L - news) (PSON) 1,184.00p -1.91%
IMI (IMI (LSE: IMI.L - news) ) 1,158.00p -1.86%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,266.00p -1.44%
CRH (CRH (NYSE: CRH - news) ) 1,391.00p -1.28%
Tesco (LSE: TSCO.L - news) (TSCO) 365.95p -1.24%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS (LSE: RBS.L - news) ) 343.70p -1.21%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Daejan Holdings (LSE: DJAN.L - news) (DJAN) 3,545.00p +7.23%
Redrow (RDW) 190.00p +2.59%
Invensys (ISYS) 355.50p +2.48%
Telecity Group (LSE: TCY.L - news) (TCY) 916.50p +2.23%
Fidessa Group (LSE: FDSA.L - news) (FDSA) 1,857.00p +2.03%
Britvic (BVIC) 397.40p +1.90%
Herald Inv Trust (HRI) 552.50p +1.56%
Capital & Counties Properties (LSE: CAPC.L - news) (CAPC) 252.60p +1.53%
SEGRO (LSE: SGRO.L - news) (SGRO) 255.10p +1.43%
Grainger (GRI) 135.10p +1.43%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 280.00p -6.85%
Bumi (BUMI) 385.30p -5.10%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,280.00p -4.55%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 327.10p -4.55%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 288.00p -3.65%
Man Group (LSE: EMG.L - news) (EMG) 107.80p -2.97%
Ocado Group (Other OTC: OCDGF - news) (OCDO) 125.20p -2.57%
African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG.L - news) (ABG) 302.40p -2.17%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 200.50p -2.05%
Synergy Health (Other OTC: SYHEF - news) (SYR) 1,016.00p -2.03%