London open: Stocks undaunted ahead of central banks



LONDON (ShareCast) - The Footsie has begun the day with a moderate move higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street and in Tokyo.

The latter came in response to news that Bank of Japan Governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, will step down on March 19th, almost three weeks ahead of schedule, which some observers interpreted as favouring the new Prime Minister's calls for a more aggressive monetary policy.

All of the above comes ahead of tomorrow's testimony by Mark Carney before the Treasury Select Committee and policy meetings at the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

Not to be lost sight of, investors are also watching what appear to be signs of division between France and southern Europe, on the one hand, and Germany and the UK on the other, ahead of tomorrow's European Council. European leaders are expected to try to find an agreement on the European Budget for 2014-2020.

Back in the UK, the Halifax house price survey this morning showed that house prices fell slightly in January, by 0.2% month-on-month, after reporting strong increases during the previous two months.

Overall shop price inflation fell to 0.6% year-on-year in January after a reading of 1.5% in December, the lowest shop price inflation since November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) 2009, when it was 0.2%.

FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) : Keep them coming says Hargreaves

In UK company news, financial service company Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE: HL.L - news) on Wednesday posted record revenues and profits for the last half of 2012 driven by a boost in client numbers.

FTSE 100-listed metal mining company Eurasian Natural Resources has acknowledged that its aluminium division operated below capacity in the fourth quarter of the year, whilst production of saleable copper declined against the corresponding period in the previous year. Notwithstanding the above, the majority of Eurasian Natural Resources' business areas saw growth in production and operating performance.

Shares of Schroders (LSE: SDR.L - news) are rising strongly following an upgrade out of analysts at Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) , to overweight.

Unilever (NYSE: UL - news) , on the other hand, is leading losers this morning after going ex-dividend.

ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L - news) is off a tad following yesterday's surge and after at least three brokers (Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) , UBS (Xetra: UB0BL6 - news) and JP Morgan) opted to retain their 'neutral' rating on the stock.

RBS (LSE: RBS.L - news) has announced that it is in late stage settlement discussions with regulators and that it will update the market 'shortly', although it sees significant penalties and sanctions.

FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) : WS Atkins (LSE: ATK.L - news) trading 'in line'
Engineering (Milan: ENG.MI - news) and product management consultancy Atkins on Wednesday said it was trading in line with expectations despite challenging market conditions. The FTSE 250 company has faced difficult trading conditions over the past three months, particularly in North America, according to a business update.

International home emergency business HomeServe (LSE: HSV.L - news) has reported that it expects its New Markets segment to report a fiscal year 2013 operating loss of approximately £5.5m, representing a 61.8% rise compared to the fiscal year 2012, when the business reported a £3.4m loss.

FTSE 100 - Risers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 784.50p +6.81%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp (LSE: ENRC.L - news) . (ENRC) 359.80p +4.53%
Schroders (SDR) 2,002.00p +3.04%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,075.00p +2.67%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 220.10p +2.32%
Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ.L - news) (KAZ) 741.00p +2.14%
TUI Travel (LSE: TT.L - news) (TT (BSE: TTL.BO - news) .) 306.70p +2.10%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,088.00p +1.97%
Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY.L - news) (LLOY) 52.36p +1.71%
IMI (IMI (LSE: IMI.L - news) ) 1,201.00p +1.61%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Unilever (ULVR) 2,567.00p -1.16%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 923.00p -0.86%
BP (BP (LSE: BP.L - news) .) 466.25p -0.52%
Rexam (LSE: 3615.L - news) (REX) 465.90p -0.45%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 972.50p -0.26%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 170.90p -0.20%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 331.00p 0.00%
SABMiller (SAB (LSE: SAB.L - news) ) 3,185.50p +0.13%
Smiths Group (LSE: SMIN.L - news) (SMIN) 1,223.00p +0.16%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 252.30p +0.16%

FTSE 250 - Risers
ICAP (IAP) 363.90p +7.41%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 485.20p +4.01%
Homeserve (HSV) 245.00p +3.77%
Tullett Prebon (LSE: TLPR.L - news) (TLPR) 261.00p +3.74%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 271.10p +3.67%
Lonmin (LMI) 379.70p +3.24%
Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW.L - news) (TW.) 75.55p +3.14%
easyJet (EZJ) 977.00p +3.00%
Man Group (LSE: EMG.L - news) (EMG) 93.45p +2.98%
Petra Diamonds Ltd (Other OTC: PDMDF - news) .(DI (KSE: 003160.KS - news) ) (PDL) 112.00p +2.94%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Victrex (VCT) 1,503.00p -2.21%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 745.00p -1.65%
Daejan Holdings (LSE: DJAN.L - news) (DJAN) 3,005.00p -1.15%
RPS Group (LSE: RPS.L - news) (RPS) 236.60p -0.92%
Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT.L - news) (ISAT) 656.50p -0.68%
Workspace Group (LSE: WKP.L - news) (WKP) 326.30p -0.64%
BH Macro Ltd (Other OTC: BHMDF - news) . EUR Shares (BHME) € 19.52 -0.61%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 1,352.00p -0.59%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 723.00p -0.55%
Cable & Wireless Communications (LSE: CWC.L - news) (CWC) 40.55p -0.54%