London open: Stocks drfit lower after BoJ holds policy steady

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - Petrofac (Frankfurt: A0HF9Y - news) leads gains after Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) upgrade
- Dollar/yen trading below 101
- Russian troops have yet to pull back, negotiations ongoing in Ukraine

techMARK 2,710.51 +0.15%
FTSE 100 6,801.35 -0.01%
FTSE 250 15,467.06 +0.17%

Stocks were trading slightly lower little over an hour after the start of trading, following somewhat hawkish remarks out from several global monetary policy-makers overnight and losses on Wall Street and Asian markets.

Charles Plosser, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, last night reiterated his hawkish stance regarding the inflationary potential of the Federal Reserve's unusually large balance sheet, which now holds about $2.5bn in excess reserves.

In a speech given in Washington, he said this could mean a rate hike needs to occur "sooner rather than later".

Plosser's remarks were joined by those of Bank of Japan (BoJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. He said that consumer price inflation in his country was likely to reach the monetary authority's 2% target in the middle of the projection period. Traders may have interpreted as signalling that any possible monetary easing has moved further out on the time horizon. That came as the BoJ opted too hold its policy settings steady.

Significantly for capital markets in the very short term, the dollar/yen dropped below the 101 yen mark as a result, reflecting investors' resulting aversion to risk.

On Tuesday evening outgoing Bank of England Deputy Governor Charlie Bean outlined in a speech the case to be made in favour of employing macroprudential tools to safeguard financial stability. That comes at a time when the Bank has come under some pressure to act to slow house prices rises.

The Pentagon indicated that it has as of yet seen no shift in Russian forces currently positioned close to the border with Ukraine back to their assigned garrisons. Nonetheless, negotiations between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists are ongoing.

Markets are now expectant ahead of this morning's MPC (KOSDAQ: 050540.KQ - news) minutes and UK retail sales data, both of which are due out at 09:30. A raft of Fed speakers will take to the podium later in the day.

Petrofac paces gains after upgrade out of Barclays

Back in the UK and in this morning's company news, Burberry said its annual revenue rose 17% to £2.3bn, driven by strong retail sales. The luxury fashion house reported adjusted pre-tax profit of £461m in the year to end of March 2014, up 8% on the previous year.

Soft drinks group Britvic (LSE: BVIC.L - news) served up a 20% increase in interim profit, as it continues with its cost saving programme, and underlined its confidence in future trading with 13 per cent hike in its interim dividend. Pre-tax profit jumped 20.8% to £45.3m for the 28 weeks ended April 13th, while revenue increased to £670.7m from £639.2m the same time a year earlier.

Electricity and gas supplier SSE (LSE: SSE.L - news) said profits from supplying households and businesses fell by nearly a third due to lower energy use and higher costs, but still boosted underlying annual group profits by 9.6% to £1.5bn and hiked its dividend by 3%.

Train and bus company FirstGroup (LSE: FGP.L - news) made progress with four of its divisions, growing underlying group operating profits despite the extreme weather hitting US operations, but the recovery of the First Student in the US was slower than hoped. Disposals put the brakes on the top line, holding back full-year group revenue 2.7% to £6.7bn, but adjusted operating profit climbed 5.5% to £268.0m.

Telecom Plus (LSE: TEP.L - news) posted a rise in annual profit and revenue as the utility achieved a record increase in service numbers. The company, which supplies gas, electricity, telephony and broadband, said adjusted pre-tax profit jumped 25.3% to £44.6m and revenue increased 9.5% to £658.8m in the year to end of March 2014.

Petrofac was pacing risers now on the Footsie after being upgraded to 'equalweight' from 'underweight'.

Vodafone had been removed from UBS (Xetra: UB0BL6 - news) 's European Key call list.

FTSE 100 - Risers
ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L - news) (ARM) 867.00p +2.60%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,223.00p +2.43%
William Hill (Other OTC: WIMHF - news) (WMH) 331.20p +1.60%
TUI Travel (LSE: TT.L - news) (TT.) 407.70p +1.42%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,207.00p +1.28%
Rexam (Frankfurt: RXM1.F - news) (REX) 523.00p +1.16%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 382.40p +1.06%
WPP (Frankfurt: 0WP.F - news) (WPP (Other OTC: WPPGF - news) ) 1,252.00p +1.05%
Whitbread (Frankfurt: WHF4.F - news) (WTB) 4,035.00p +1.05%
Barclays (Berlin: BCY.BE - news) (BARC) 240.95p +1.01%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 204.30p -2.48%
Intertek Group (Other OTC: IKTSF - news) (ITRK) 2,883.00p -1.47%
Sainsbury (Berlin: SUY1.BE - news) (J) (SBRY) 335.00p -1.33%
HSBC Holdings (HKSE: 0005.HK - news) (HSBA) 618.80p -1.32%
SSE (Berlin: SCT.BE - news) (SSE) 1,550.00p -1.15%
Glencore (GLEN) 323.75p -1.15%
Rio Tinto (Xetra: 855018 - news) (RIO) 3,168.50p -1.08%
Fresnillo (Berlin: FNL.BE - news) (FRES) 823.50p -1.08%
Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO.L - news) (ANTO) 775.50p -1.02%
Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) (AAL) 1,517.50p -1.01%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,499.00p +9.42%
Britvic (Munich: B6S.MU - news) (BVIC) 732.50p +5.47%
DCC (Dusseldorf: DCC.DU - news) (DCC (LSE: DCC.L - news) ) 3,254.00p +4.80%
Man Group (Other OTC: MNGPF - news) (EMG) 93.25p +2.81%
International Personal Finance (LSE: IPF.L - news) (IPF) 580.50p +2.74%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 157.80p +2.40%
Ladbrokes (Frankfurt: LADA.F - news) (LAD) 136.40p +2.10%
Laird (LRD) 281.40p +2.07%
FirstGroup (Dusseldorf: FGR.DU - news) (FGP (BSE: FGP.BO - news) ) 134.90p +2.04%
Afren (Berlin: A2J.BE - news) (AFR) 147.80p +1.72%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Redefine International (RDI) 54.50p -3.88%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 374.30p -2.42%
Computacenter (CCC) 599.50p -2.20%
HICL Infrastructure Company Ltd (HICL) 135.70p -2.16%
Evraz (LSE: EVR.L - news) (EVR) 97.75p -1.91%
African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG.L - news) (ABG) 213.10p -1.89%
Ferrexpo (Frankfurt: FEX.F - news) (FXPO) 132.90p -1.56%
Dignity (DTY) 1,329.00p -1.56%
Supergroup (Frankfurt: 49S.F - news) (SGP) 997.50p -1.43%
Keller Group (LSE: KLR.L - news) (KLR) 956.50p -1.19%

FTSE TechMARK - Risers
RM (RM (LSE: RM.L - news) .) 142.00p +10.08%
Vectura Group (LSE: VEC.L - news) (VEC) 130.25p +2.16%
Filtronic (FTC) 38.75p +1.31%
Ricardo (RCDO) 664.50p +0.08%
IShares Euro Gov Bond 7-10YR UCITS ETF (IEGM) € 187.33 +0.01%

FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 106.00p -2.75%
Dialight (DIA (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) ) 853.50p -1.33%
Oxford Biomedica (LSE: OXB.L - news) (OXB) 1.98p -1.25%
Anite (AIE) 90.25p -0.82%
Consort Medical (Other OTC: CSRMY - news) (CSRT) 852.50p -0.76%
E2V Technologies (LSE: E2V.L - news) (E2V) 154.50p -0.32%
Skyepharma (Frankfurt: SK8C.F - news) (SKP) 224.50p -0.11%

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