London midday: Markets boosted by earnings, Eurozone PMIs

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Upbeat corporate earnings from a number of heavyweights and improving data in the Eurozone gave UK markets a boost on Wednesday morning, as traders shrugged off concerns about manufacturing activity in China.

easyJet, ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L - news) , Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE.L - news) , Kingfisher (LSE: KGF.L - news) and Compass (LSE: CPG.L - news) were all trading firmly higher after results or trading updates this morning. Meanwhile, figures from blue chips Daimler (Xetra: 710000 - news) , Volvo and Alstom (Paris: FR0010220475 - news) also impressed over in Europe.

In economic data, the Eurozone purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) for both the services and manufacturing sectors beat expectations in July, pushing the composite PMI from 48.7 to 50.4, well ahead of the 49.1 consensus forecast. This was the best reading of private-sector activity in 18 months.

"Sure, unemployment remains frighteningly high, political instability keeps the market on its toes and deep austerity will be biting hard for some time, but services and manufacturing facets of the Eurozone economy are turning a page," said Market Strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital.

Markets were also digesting comments from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) analysts who said they see a near 50% probability that the Monetary Policy Committee will modify its stance at the August meeting. The most likely change would be a cut in the Bank rate or remuneration rate on bank reserves, but additional quantitative easing looks less likely.

Chinese data disappoints

HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) 's flash China manufacturing PMI fell from 48.2 to 47.7 in July, missing expectations of no change.

"Under normal circumstances, this would weigh heavily on investor sentiment and therefore risk assets, such as the European indices, however that is not the case this morning," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.

Downside risks to growth were tempered yesterday by the country's Premier Li Keqiang who assured that the pace of expansion would not fall below the "bottom line" of 7.0% this year, indicating that any slowdown would be met with more stimulus.

"This should limit the short-term negativity surrounding poor Chinese data because it seems for now that growth is guaranteed to remain at these higher levels," Erlam said.

FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) : Updates from heavyweights impress

easyJet surged this morning after the budget airline achieved a 10.5% rise in third-quarter revenue to £1.14bn, bolstered by an increase in capacity and growth in revenue per seat.

Chip designer ARM Holdings was also on the rise after delivering better-than-expected second-quarter sales and profits. The company also said that dollar revenues would be "at least in line" with market expectations.

Food ingredients firm Tate & Lyle gained after saying that adjusted profits were in line with expectations in spite of tough weather conditions in the States in the first quarter.

Foodservice and support services company Compass rose after saying expectations for the full year remain "positive and unchanged" following a strong third quarter.

Kingfisher, the DIY retail group behind B&Q and Screwfix, said it is on track to hit expectations for the first half after a pick-up in activity in the second quarter, causing shares to rise.

Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline (Other OTC: GLAXF - news) was trading higher this morning ahead of its results out this afternoon.

Exchange operator London Stock Exchange (LSE: LSE.L - news) was subdued after going ex-dividend.

Engineering (Milan: ENG.MI - news) and project management group AMEC (Other OTC: AMCBF - news) was trading lower after HSBC downgraded the stock to 'neutral' and cut its target price from 1,200p to 1,130p.


FTSE 100 - Risers
easyJet (EZJ) 1,439.00p +7.71%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 940.50p +4.73%
Glencore Xstrata (Other OTC: GLCNF - news) (GLEN) 292.40p +3.43%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,173.00p +2.89%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 847.00p +2.85%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 293.90p +2.80%
Travis Perkins (LSE: TPK.L - news) (TPK) 1,720.00p +2.69%
Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO.L - news) (ANTO) 875.50p +2.16%
Melrose Industries (Other OTC: MLSPF - news) (MRO) 273.60p +1.90%
TUI Travel (LSE: TT.L - news) (TT (BSE: TTL.BO - news) .) 371.00p +1.87%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Meggitt (MGGT) 538.00p -1.65%
Croda International (Other OTC: COIHF - news) (CRDA) 2,421.00p -1.14%
British Land Co (BLND) 610.00p -1.13%
BG Group (LSE: BG.L - news) (BG.) 1,198.00p -1.03%
Sage Group (LSE: SGE.L - news) (SGE) 356.00p -0.84%
Hammerson (HMSO) 533.50p -0.56%
Amec (LSE: AMEC.L - news) (AMEC) 1,066.00p -0.56%
Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE: HL.L - news) (HL.) 1,006.00p -0.40%
Barclays (BARC) 320.45p -0.40%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,088.00p -0.28%

FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) - Risers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 269.20p +7.38%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 708.00p +5.99%
National Express Group (NEX) 259.00p +5.50%
Hochschild Mining (Other OTC: HCHDF - news) (HOC) 171.60p +4.63%
Mitchells & Butlers (LSE: MAB.L - news) (MAB) 433.30p +4.41%
Bumi (BUMI) 225.00p +3.93%
Premier Farnell (LSE: PFL.L - news) (PFL) 228.40p +3.12%
Dialight (DIA) 1,221.00p +3.04%
Playtech (PTEC) 706.50p +2.39%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 308.80p +2.18%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Beazley (BEZ) 215.90p -4.34%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 246.80p -2.06%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,535.00p -2.04%
Kier Group (LSE: KIE.L - news) (KIE) 1,395.00p -1.97%
Man Group (LSE: EMG.L - news) (EMG) 86.15p -1.94%
Chemring Group (LSE: CHG.L - news) (CHG) 301.00p -1.67%
Carpetright (CPR) 666.00p -1.62%
Great Portland Estates (LSE: GPOR.L - news) (GPOR) 577.50p -1.45%
Anite (AIE) 130.00p -1.44%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 562.00p -1.23%

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