The sun is about to go down below the yard arm and though the FTSE 100 only eased by 15 points at 6130 by the close, some share prices have moved by seismic proportions. Volumes generally remain pitiful and the appetite for risk is minimal; hence the market makers remain very light on their feet and those intrepid punters who have not closed out some shorts have having their pips squeezed and are consequently bleeding with pain. Conditions are indecently volatile. Dividends payable today denied the FTSE 13.4 points. Mining stocks were relatively somnolent in comparison to recent sessions. Investors were pleased that BHP Billiton and Vale had settles their case with Sanmarco at a cost of $5 billion, payable over 15 years. BHP’S shares rallied by 2%. Oils were strong and in particular BP +2.5%. Drugs lacked inspiration, losing an average of 1.5% in value.
An enormous number of companies results or updates were posted today. Superficially Whitbread’s headline numbers looked acceptable, but they were inadequate falling way short on expectation – shares down 6% today and down from £52 to 38 in the last year. Talking of huge gains – how about these? – Aggreko +12.5%, Genel, which lost 40% last week – up 13.5%, Admiral +9%. There were solid efforts from CRH +4.5%, Shawbrook the challenger bank that had an IPO last year. Johnson Matthey eased a smidgen – -0.3%. Schroders leapt out of the traps (+3%) but finished the session only up 0.75%. Domino Pizza was dull – down 1%.
At the time of writing the DOW was down 45 points. Market watchers are waiting on Non-Farm payrolls and other employment data due tomorrow (EST 195k) with the unemployment rate unchanged (5.1%).