0939: Shares of Bumi are leading gains now on the FTSE 350. There is the slightest of technical resistance – perhaps – at 450p. Yesterday the stock pierced through 400p although trading volumes were not remarkable. Today the shares have left a ‘bullish gap’ behind which they may try to ‘fill’ in the future.
0819: UK stocks have started the session lower with the Footsie weighed down by AstraZeneca, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Sage, all of which go ex-dividend today. IMI is also falling after being downgraded to sell, from neutral, at Swiss broker UBS. On the other side of the ledger Tullow Oil is the largest gainer in early trading, after unveiling a 4% rise in pre-tax profit. Reckitt Benckiser´s ex -pharmaceutical comparable sales gained 6%, well ahead of the forecasts, although the company has indicated that markets remain challenging. Petrofac is being held aloft by an upgrade from UBS to buy, from neutral. The Bank of England will publish the February Inflation Report at 10:30. The main issue for the MPC – and Governor King in particular – is how to manage expectations. Sir Mervyn is likely to want to downplay the possibility of further stimulus, because the inflation outlook doesn’t warrant it, but he will also want to avoid a marked rates sell-off and a strengthening in Sterling, as the recovery is not well enough established to withstand a tightening in financial conditions. US stocks finished mixed last night, ahead of Obama´s State of the Union address, but with bank shares at 52 week highs and the Dow Jones Industrial less than 1 per cent off of its best-ever levels, reached back in 2007. FTSE 100 down 13 to 6,325.