Friday, September 21 09:32:59
Britain's top share index rose in early deals today, tracking modest gains on Wall Street and in Asia, though trading could turn volatile ahead of 'quadruple-witching' stock futures and options expiries due around 0915 GMT. At 0751 GMT, the FTSE 100 index was up 27.77 points, or 0.5 percent, at 5,882.41, having shed 0.6 percent on Thursday, with early volume at 7.4 percent of the 90-day daily average. "Volume and volatility is likely to pick up with the 'quadruple witching' today, when positions are adjusted and settlements established," Andrew Crook, a trader at Sucden Financial Private Clients said. Expiries are due on monthly and quarterly stock and index futures and options.
"Once that is out of the way, investors are likely to pause for breath ahead of the weekend with the (central bank) stimulus bounce probably worked through and fresh direction sought." Miners, up 0.9 percent, led the bounce back as copper rallied from a drop in the previous session, spurred by hopes for major economies to continue stimulus moves that could boost global demand for metals. The sector was the worst performer on Thursday after weak manufacturing data from top consumer China dented demand hopes.
Pearson was a big individual blue chip gainer, up 1.7 percent as Exane BNP Paribas upgraded its rating for the British publishing group to "outperform" from "neutral", with an 21 percent hike in its target price to 210 pence. "We turn more bullish on growth opportunities at Pearson International Education and see the group as a key beneficiary from the move to digital learning. In addition, we expect a likely rebound in U.S. School in 2013," Exane said in a note.
Broker comment also accounted for the biggest FTSE 100 faller, with National Grid shedding 1.0 percent as JPMorgan Cazenove cut its stance on the power group to "underperform" from "neutral". Regulatory decisions were due for its UK regulated businesses in December, its Rhode Island businesses in January and its upstate New York businesses in March. "Early indications have not been positive with challenging preliminary announcements in all three jurisdictions," JPMorgan said in a note, recommending investors switch to water firm Pennon in the UK. ( C) Reuters