started the day on the front foot this morning, guided in higher on the open by a positive reading for US futures after yesterday’s closure for MLK day. The UK benchmark broke through the closing highs posted back in May last year on the opening bell, with an intraday high of 6875 on the same day the only historical resistance to break before taking on all time high’s recorded back in 1999.
A slight miss from German ZEW investor confidence was largely ignored, with Germany one of the better performers in the block for the morning session.
All eyes will be on the U.S open now, to see if we can build up enough momentum to this morning’s tentative gains to see the FTSE target those all-time peaks.
A rebound from emerging markets has boosted 2013 results at Unilever, with underlying sales beating expectations to post a 4.3% gain. But it was Q4 figures that will lead to the greatest optimism for the future with an 8.4% kick from emerging markets, which had been an area of concern. Full year turnover was down 3%, but mainly due to unfavourable FX rates.
SDL was another stock on the rise in early trade, surging over 7% after full year revenue expectations topped previous estimates. The stock has been on the charge since the start of December, up over 30% as it claws back losses for the rest of 2013.
Marstons have followed the example of fellow brewer and pub owner Greene King with encouraging trading over the Christmas period and strong first quarter performance giving the stock a lift this morning. For the 15 weeks to January 18th, like for like sales were up 3% on last year.
One big mover on the continent was Alstom, who’s stock shed over 12% after cutting margin forecasts for the second time in 9 months. The reaction would suggest a complete void of confidence, which was mirrored by analysts at Soc Gen who cut target price by near 20% to 26 Euros. The firm will now look to address debt obligations by selling up to 2bln euros of assets by the end of the year.
German software giant SAP also headed lower after postponing profit goals to make way for investment into its cloud business.
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