Indices pull back as European inflation gap widens
CPI data out of Europe this morning gave traders cause to take their foot off the gas, as the widening gap in data between constituent Eurozone members was drawn back into focus. Spanish inflation on the annual measure now runs at a higher than expected 2.8%, whilst the corresponding French figure arrived below forecasts at 1%. The conflicting backdrops make blanket monetary policy an impossible balancing act – particular given the disparity in growth forecasts between Germany and their poorer continental cousins.
Despite the general market malaise, several UK stocks have announced impressive earnings this morning that see their stocks outperforming, notably travel group Thomas Cook who see a strong outlook for 2013. Potential cost savings of £50m combined with improving demand to send the stock to double digit gains in early trade. Brave souls who bought stock as the company teetered on the brink of extinction last year have been rewarded with 500% returns – sometimes it pays to catch a falling knife…
Online gaming group 888 announced bumper full year profits in line with market expectations and cited a very encouraging start to 2013, but with the whole sector having boomed in recent months the market was unimpressed and offered the stock 4% lower.
Insurers Prudential were better bid as impressive earnings enabled them to join Admiral and Legal & General in upping their dividends. The firm’s Asian business acted as a catalyst for the outperformance, growing sharply throughout 2012.
Security firm G4S have seen their stock rally since the autumn as they recover from the PR disaster that was their London Olympics involvement, but the shares are marked lower this morning as the market digests a 32% drop in annual profits. Stripping out the Olympic fiasco annual earnings actually rose 4%, but £70m is a write down not easily ignored…
Industrial Production numbers out of Europe at 10:00 are unlikely to paint a rosy picture, but bulls will be hopeful that Retail Sales figures due out of the US at 12:30 will inspire confidence that this rally still has legs.
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