n unexpected drop in German unemployment has been enough to tempt the bulls back to the table as they look to test the New Years correction, with Europe moving higher across the board. Buying the dips was the theme of the back end of last year and we have traders seeking the same opportunity in 2014 after a timid start to January.
In the UK, the Banks were the best performers, with the sector enjoying a strong run in the last couple of weeks as they play catch up with rest of the market. Miners were again weaker on softer Copper prices as investors mull over the next piece of the puzzle that is Chinese economic reform, with Banking taking centre stage today.
Easyjet continue to creep up on the wing of archrival Ryanair, with the budget airline adding 2.13 million passengers last year. The 3.6% rate of growth betters Ryanair’s 2.3% over the same period and continues the trend set in the last half of 2013 in the race for top provider of cheaper seats in the sky.
Pawnbroker H&T group are set to hit 2013 expectations despite lower gold prices hampering earnings. Jewellery sales helped plug the gap, with sales up 56% in Q4 and gross profits up 18% in the same period. The stock surged 6% on the news, with investors fearing for worse given the relative gloom in the sector from rival Albermarle & Bond, who endured a horrific year in 2013. Speculation has heightened that H&T might bid for its distraught competitor, but today’s statement showed no such intention for now.
Two stocks on opposing ends of broker ratings were CSR and BASF. Barclays cut CSR from “Equal-weight” to “Underweight” with a 550p target, sending the slightly lower on the open, while in Germany BASF headed in the other direction to top the blue chip index after UBS upgraded them to a Buy.
Upgrades from Jefferies for ITV, BskyB and Ashtead have given investors a welcome lift, with all 3 kicking off the session in positive mood.
Homewares firm Dunelm dipped lower despite expectations of a small rise in YOY H1 profits, but looking at the price action in the run up to the results this looks to have been well priced in already.
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