European equities slide with metals as UK inflation drops to 1 year low
Miners have lead European equities lower this morning as metals prices twitched ahead of a key reform agenda from China. Expectations for the 10 year blueprint have been toned down in recent weeks, but given the countries dominance of global metal consumption, prices will be sensitive to any clues on policy direction.
In the UK, markets outperformed their European peers following a drop in Inflation which should leave the door open for monetary policy to remain supportive to the recent economic recovery well into 2014/15. CPI inflation dropped to 2.2% which is the lowest figure since September last year, expectations had been for a 2.5% increase.
Services firm Babcock Group have announced a 32% increase in H1 pre-tax profits and a healthy bid pipeline of £15.5 billion suggests a rosy short term future as well. This confidence was reflected in a 10% dividend hike to 6.9p as a further sweetener to shareholders. Babcock eased off after initially opening higher, with many investors choosing to bank some profit on a stock that is up near 30% from the turn of the year.
A record fall in organic service revenue will put pressure on Vodafone to invest heavily and prove that the sale of its US Verizon share was not a mistake. Many analysts had concerns that the sale was not only a huge loss as a source of revenue, but also as a means of diversification, with the firm back to a heavy reliance on a weak European market. The response from the group comes in the form of “Project Spring”, an investment programme to improve the speed of its European networks and extend coverage in emerging markets. Whether this is enough remains to be seen, but an acquisition outside of Europe has been suggested more than once as the firm ponders over plans for its Verizon cashpile.
GSK has fallen back this morning after a new drug designed to fight heart disease took a setback at a late clinical trial. The drug had been tipped as having $10bln a year potential if successful, however many analysts have already been sceptical of its future.
Building materials group CRH shrugged of the much publicised effects of a strong Euro to post like for like sales growth of 2% in Q3. The group also noted expected savings of E195m from a cost reduction programme in 2013 and see its stock pushed up over 2% in early trade.
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