FTSE 100 watch: Footsie little changed as Crimea stays in focus

on Mar 19, 2014
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
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iNVEZZ.com, Wednesday, March 19: Britain’s blue-chip index has been little changed today with investors keeping monitoring developments in Crimea, and ahead of a policy announcement by the US Federal Reserve.

Among individual stocks, shares in Smiths Group (LON:SMIN) have slumped after the engineer posted downbeat first-half results.
**FTSE 100 flat with Crimea, Fed meeting in focus**
As of 12:06 UTC, the Footsie had shed 0.4 points to be 0.01 percent down at 6,604.88 points. Events in Crimea remain in focus today after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty formally making the region part of the Russian Federation. Putin calmed the markets yesterday by saying in front of Russia’s parliament that he was not looking to take control of any other parts of Ukraine.

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CNBC quoted Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, as forecasting that the recent volatility in stock markets was “likely to continue for some time to come” with EU and US leaders “hardly likely to sit idly by and do nothing”.
Investors are also awaiting the outcome of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting with the US central bank widely expected to further trim its quantitative easing programme while holding its benchmark interest rate near zero.

Reuters quoted traders as expecting the FTSE 100 to recover later this year and hit a record high of 7,000 points, supported by the ongoing recovery of the UK economy.

“We’re still in an uptrend for now,” JNF Capital trader Rick Jones told Reuters. “I expect record highs to come mid-April or early May.”

**Top Footsie winners and losers**
Among individual stocks, Smiths Group has been the standout Footsie faller today after the company’s medical unit posted an 18 percent drop in operating profit for the six months to the end of January. (Smiths Group share price falls as medical unit drags down H1 performance)

“Investors in Smiths Group can be forgiven for feelings of exasperation and even despair this morning. It just isn’t doing what it says on the tin,” Steve Clayton, equity research partner at Mirabaud Securities, told Reuters.
As of 12:17 UTC, Smiths’ share price had plunged 5.92 percent to 1,271.00p.
Meanwhile, BAE Systems (LON:BA) have benefitted this week from an improving outlook on US defence spending. BAE’s share price is currently 3.04 percent up at 420.20p. Shares in Rolls-Royce (LON:RR) have also advanced, climbing 1.63 percent to 1,077.25p.
**The FTSE 100 was 0.03 percent down at 6,602.99 points as of 12:26 UTC on March 19, 2014.**

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