Mining sector gains nudge FTSE higher

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is narrowly in positive territory as reporting season in the UK hits full swing.

Source: Bloomberg

In London the mining sector has registered the biggest gains on the back of strong copper prices. Stock markets in Continental Europe are glad to put the Greek situation behind them for now, even though traders know the situation will erupt in a few months’ time when the extension runs out.

RBS is lower this morning after revealing its seventh consecutive annual loss. The bailed-out bank is still battling to stay on top of its losses. There are some signs of recovery as the full-year loss narrowed, the North American loan book is being sold off and the Irish division has swung back to profitability. The restructuring is encouraging, but it is six years on from the government rescue and the bank is far from being out of the woods.

RSA returned to a full-year profit as Stephen Hester’s restructuring plans are taking effect. The troubled insurer has aims to have the bulk of its restructuring completed this year, but the Irish business is still holding back the group’s  profitability.

Shares in CRH are higher after the building material supply merchants announced an increase in revenue and earnings of 5% and 11% respectively. A jump in activity at the US operation in the second-half of the year more than made up for the mediocre first six months of its financial year.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open unchanged on the day, as US index futures trade sideways ahead of the inflation report expected at lunchtime. Janet Yellen’s concerns about global growth suggest we will not see a rate rise from the Federal Reserve in the near future, and the CPI data will confirm this.

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