London midday: Stocks extend gains on weaker pound, China data
London stocks had extended gains by midday on Monday, lifted by encouraging Chinese data and a weaker pound.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.6% to 7,420.40, while the pound was down 0.3% versus the euro at 1.1400 and 0.2% weaker against the dollar at 1.3064 as Brexit secretary David Davis began a second round of negotiations in Brussels against a backdrop of political infighting among British ministers over the terms of the EU exit.
IG analyst Joshua Mahony said: "There is now a clear need to get a transitional deal into place, with the negotiations looking ever more unlikely to conclude satisfactorily within the two-year deadline."
Heavily-weighted mining stocks got a boost after data revealed China's second-quarter gross domestic product grew 6.9% from a year earlier, unchanged from the first quarter and ahead of expectations for 6.8%growth. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 1.7% compared to 1.3% in the first quarter, as expected. Chinese retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment data for June were also encouraging.
In corporate news, ITV was the standout gainer after it poached Carolyn McCall from easyJet to be its new chief executive.
Carillion rocketed as it won HS2 contracts worth £1.4bn as part of its CEK joint venture with Kier and Eiffage. Meanwhile, Balfour Beatty gained as it won two contracts worth £2.5bn with JV partner Vinci and Mitie was boosted by a double upgrade to 'buy' at Investec.
Centrica edged higher as it and Stadtwerke München agreed to combine Centrica's European oil and gas exploration and production business with Bayerngas Norge to form a new joint venture.
Weir Group surged as it said its updated outlook for the group's full-year performance is now for strong constant currency revenue and profit growth, with revenues and operating profits in the oil & gas division set to be above the upper end of analysts' estimates as upstream North American markets have recovered more strongly than anticipated in recent weeks.
AstraZeneca rebounded after last week's rumour that chief executive Pascal Soriot was leaving flip-flopped into new rumours that he was now in the remain camp.
Barclays nudged lower as it emerged that the trial of the bank and four former executives charged with fraud over undisclosed payments to Qatari investors has been set for January 2019.
Elsewhere, the latest survey from Rightmove released overnight revealed that the prices of homes put up for sale in the UK remained just about flat last month.
Newly-marketed property prices edged up 0.1% in June, which was stronger than the previous month’s fall of 0.4%, and is a solid performance as the start of the summer holiday season generally has a dampening effect on both prices and activity, Rightmove said.
As the fundamentals of the housing market remain good, the online property experts said, this had led to the number of sales agreed numbers remaining almost identical to those in 2016, with many parts of the country seeing as high a proportion of properties marked as sold than at any time in the last seven years.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ITV (ITV) 180.20p 2.97%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,618.00p 2.34%
Glencore (GLEN) 322.80p 2.12%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,140.50p 2.10%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 5,101.00p 2.05%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,509.00p 1.89%
Kingfisher (KGF) 299.00p 1.77%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,361.00p 1.68%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,122.00p 1.58%
Mondi (MNDI) 2,044.00p 1.54%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,123.50p -1.10%
Pearson (PSON) 630.00p -0.87%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 848.00p -0.53%
Royal Mail (RMG) 399.10p -0.47%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 3,483.50p -0.46%
Experian (EXPN) 1,581.00p -0.44%
Hammerson (HMSO) 582.00p -0.43%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 66.70p -0.36%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,725.00p -0.32%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,015.00p -0.29%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Carillion (CLLN) 69.15p 23.15%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,950.00p 6.91%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 1,692.00p 4.44%
Mitie Group (MTO) 283.00p 3.40%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 270.60p 2.93%
Rotork (ROR) 248.50p 2.77%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 593.00p 2.60%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 163.20p 2.58%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 599.00p 2.48%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 100.90p 2.44%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 184.10p -2.18%
CYBG (CYBG) 273.60p -1.83%
Essentra (ESNT) 543.50p -1.54%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 595.50p -1.49%
Savills (SVS) 874.50p -1.46%
Metro Bank (MTRO) 3,535.00p -1.37%
Rank Group (RNK) 221.00p -1.34%
Workspace Group (WKP) 874.00p -1.19%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,543.00p -1.13%
Coats Group (COA) 75.25p -0.99%