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27 Jan 2021 | 08:12

London open: Stocks tread water ahead of US tech earnings, Fed

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were treading water in early trade on Wednesday amid ongoing worries about the pandemic, as investors eyed earnings from US technology giants and the latest policy announcement from the Federal Reserve. At 0840 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down just 0.1% at 6,649.31.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Wednesday is pretty stuffed, with the first Fed meeting of 2021, and earnings from Apple, Facebook and Tesla.

"Sadly for the European markets, all of that happens after the market has closed, meaning a frustratingly mixed session might be on the cards.

"Alongside the hum of Covid-19 lockdown anxiety that has plagued the FTSE since the third set of restrictions were put in place, the index's biggest issue is the pound. Thanks to US stimulus speculation, cable is at its best level for close to 33-months, trading above $1.374. Against the euro, meanwhile, a 0.2% increase this Tuesday has lifted sterling to an eight-and-a-half month peak of €1.1304, the single currency harmed by vaccine supply troubles on the continent."

The Fed announcement is due after the European close. Investors will be on the lookout for any signs the central bank is going to start reducing its current support now that the Biden administration is in power and a fat stimulus package should be coming down the pipeline, Campbell said.

In equity markets, precious metals miner Fresnillo lost its shine after it lowered its current-year gold output forecast as a landslip at its Noche Buena mine and Covid restrictions hit 2020 production. The company, which operates seven mines in Mexico, reported a 12.1% fall in 2020 gold production to 769,618 ounces, at the upper end of revised estimates provided in October.

Miners were weaker generally, with Rio Tinto, Antofagasta, BHP, Glencore and Anglo American all trading down.

Defence contractor Babcock slumped after a downgrade to 'underweight' from 'overweight' at Barclays, which said a capital raise was likely.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,649.31 -0.07% FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,465.17 0.08% techMARK (TASX) 4,172.56 0.08%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Pearson (PSON) 818.20p 7.46% Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 257.50p 2.47% British Land Company (BLND) 450.00p 1.99% Severn Trent (SVT) 2,413.00p 1.94% Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,714.00p 1.90% Pennon Group (PNN) 986.00p 1.88% United Utilities Group (UU.) 959.60p 1.67% Land Securities Group (LAND) 632.10p 1.62% DCC (DCC) 5,824.00p 1.61% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 141.95p 1.43%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Fresnillo (FRES) 1,026.50p -3.39% Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,802.00p -1.81% Rentokil Initial (RTO) 509.60p -1.77% Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,448.00p -1.73% Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,984.00p -1.67% BHP Group (BHP) 2,075.00p -1.59% Glencore (GLEN) 251.00p -1.57% CRH (CRH) 3,086.00p -1.44% Compass Group (CPG) 1,362.00p -1.34% Anglo American (AAL) 2,478.00p -1.29%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Cineworld Group (CINE) 77.14p 5.47% Hammerson (HMSO) 21.17p 4.39% Centrica (CNA) 51.50p 4.38% Greencore Group (GNC) 117.90p 4.15% Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,460.00p 3.55% Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 318.00p 2.78% Marshalls (MSLH) 662.50p 2.71% Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 136.00p 2.56% Genesis Emerging Markets Fund Ltd Ptg NPV (GSS) 929.00p 1.75% Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 294.50p 1.73%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Babcock International Group (BAB) 200.20p -7.87% Indivior (INDV) 141.20p -2.42% Hochschild Mining (HOC) 199.90p -2.39% Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 191.40p -2.35% Energean (ENOG) 806.30p -2.14% BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 544.00p -1.98% Vectura Group (VEC) 121.00p -1.94% Weir Group (WEIR) 1,882.50p -1.85% Mediclinic International (MDC) 293.00p -1.74% Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) 3,795.00p -1.68%
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