Europe has yet again posted gains this morning after comments from Janet Yellen and Chinese export data opened the door for markets to help themselves to a 6th straight day in the green.
The general administration of customs said Chinese exports surged 10.6% on last year in January, smashing expectations to provide a welcome outlier to the recent trend. Imports were up 10% which also bettered forecasts, helping the miners to the top of the FTSE
In her first appearance at the Fed summit, Yellen assured investors that monetary policy would stay on the same course under her leadership, which in the short term should mean no further increase to the speed of the taper, giving further relief to equities. She noted that the Fed would take “further measured steps” to reduce support if the economy keeps improving, but the last couple of payrolls should put that idea to bed in the short term.
Reckit Benckiser reported quarterly sales number in line with most expectations, but expect slower growth this year citing weakness in emerging markets. Revenues are projected to increase by around 4-5% at current FX rates, which trails the 7% gains achieved this year. The stock price saw a mixed reaction, pushing higher on the open before giving back gains within the hour.
An update from Tullow oil failed to appease investors despite a new discovery in Mauritania. While revenues and cash flows were solid, profits were knocked by lower disposal gains and exploration write-offs. The stock had a 2013 to forget, but CEO Aidan Heavey remains upbeat and will hope that $1bln of investments in 2014 will yield enough to draw in disillusioned investors for another spin.
Morrissons shares spiked 5% on the opening bell as rumours of a potential buyout did the rounds. The founding family, who currently own 10% of the company, are said to be tabling a bid and have already approached a number of private equity firms to partner the move. Morrison’s has a current market cap of over £5.5bln but has underperformed peers in recent months, with Christmas sales tumbling 5.6% and the stock on a steady decline since last September.
Telecity stock dived 10% after 2014 guidance fell comfortably below expectations.
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