UK Market Trades Higher
(RTTNews.com) - The UK market is higher on Thursday, ahead of a two-day meeting of European policy makers that begins in Brussels. EU leaders are expected to endorse plans for "structural" assessments of national budgets and discuss a bailout for Cyprus.
On the economic front, the Swiss National Bank said it would retain the currency ceiling at 1.2 Swiss francs per euro with 'utmost determination' as an appreciation of the franc would compromise price stability. The bank also maintained its key three-month Libor unchanged at 0.0-0.25 percent.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.88 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.47 percent.
The FTSE 100 is rising 0.2 percent.
Aggreko is surging 7.3 percent. The temporary power provider signed power purchase agreements to supply 122 MW of gas-fuelled power to Mozambique and Namibia.
Prudential is gaining 4.5 percent. Standard Chartered is rising 2.2 percent.
Home Retail is climbing 11 percent after lifting its full year forecast.
WM Morrison is gaining over 1 percent. The food retailer reported lower profit for the year, but confirmed it is in talks with online supermarket Ocado Group that may lead to an agreement to license some of Ocado's existing and future intellectual property and operating knowledge for Morrison to commence an online grocery business in the UK. Ocado is climbing 17.2 percent.
Booker Group is climbing close to 8 percent after Competition Commission provisionally cleared its purchase of Makro.
Thomas Cook is surging 13 percent after Barclays raised its rating on the stock.
Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX, the French CAC 40 and Switzerland's SMI are moderately higher.
Across Asia/Pacific, markets ended mixed amid concerns over China's property tightening measures.
Australia's All Ordinaries retreated 1.2 percent, as weaker commodity prices on concerns China is tightening liquidity weighed on miners while China's Shanghai Composite Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng managed to advance 0.3 percent each on bargain hunting.
Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 1.2 percent, led by financial and realty firms on expectations of aggressive BOJ stimulus after Haruhiko Kuroda was approved by lower house of parliament to become Bank of Japan governor.
In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, stocks recovered from an early move to the downside to end the day just above the unchanged line. The Dow inched up less than a tenth of a percent, the Nasdaq crept up 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 edged up 0.1 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is adding $0.21 to $92.73 per barrel while April gold is losing $2.0 to $1586.4 a troy ounce.
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