THE prospect of billions of newly printed dollars working their way round the world economy could only give markets the briefest of boosts on Thursday.
The FTSE 100 Index gave back gains made on the back of overnight news that the US Federal Reserve was close to pulling the trigger on a new round of quantitative easing (QE), ending the day almost flat as disappointing Chinese and European PMI data tempered the enthusiasm for equities.
Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said: “The speculation about further QE has certainly put the wind in the sales of gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo as well as the gold price.”
Randgold topped the risers’ board, up 255p to 6,400p, with Fresnillo ahead 60p to 1,586p. Other basic resource stocks also managed to outperform, with Antofagasta up 32p to 1,152p on the prospect of easier Chinese monetary policy.
The Footsie closed just 2.4 points ahead at 5,776.6, while European markets were generally lower as the leaders of Germany and France closed ranks ahead of crunch meetings with their Greek counterpart, shortening the odds on a renewed crisis and possible Greek exit from the euro.
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland were hit when the lender was dragged further into the Libor-fixing scandal as allegations made by a former employee surfaced in court documents in Singapore. The stock was down 3 per cent at 227.9p. Barclays and Lloyds each lost 1.6 per cent in sympathy, at 191p and 34p respectively.
In the FTSE 250, building supplies firm SIG was up 8.5p to 102.6p after it reported a small drop in underlying profits but said it planned £7 million of cost savings in 2013.
NEW YORK: Wall Street also downplayed the Fed’s move, focusing more on China and the eurozone, while a 6.6 per cent slump in Hewlett-Packard shares weighed on the technology sector
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 79.43 points, or 0.60 per cent, at 13,093.33 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index eased 6.52 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 1,406.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index was 11.09 points, or 0.36 per cent lower, at 3,062.58.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West