Headline shares were slightly lower in midday trade, with investors cautious ahead of US non-farm payrolls, with a recovery in mining stocks and buoyant investment managers helping minimise losses.

At midday, the FTSE100 was down just 7.11 points at 5,854.81 with the FTSE250 ahead 33.4 points at 12,125.2 and the FTSE Smallcaps 1.83 points better at 3,261.96.


US stock futures showed little change ahead of October non-farm payrolls data.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures eased 4 points at 13,161, S&P500 futures were flat at 1,423 and Nasdaq 100 futures unmoved at 2,684.


Investors in London displayed caution today, consolidating yesterday's strong gains but wary ahead of US non-farm payrolls data this afternoon.

Financial stocks were in the news, with part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland down 5.75p at 281.45p, on reporting a statutory loss of £1.38bn after making a further £400m provision for mis-sold PPI. Elsewhere, Barclays ticked up 2.03p at 241.28p and Lloyds lost 0.005p at 43.93p.

Car insurance specialist Admiral took the wooden spoon, slipping 65p at 1,077p after reporting a slowdown in the third quarter, with UK car insurance turnover flat. Newly-listed peer Direct Line slipped 2.75p at 196.25p in sympathy, despite saying profit rose by 3% to £347.9m in the nine months to end-September.

Defence and aerospace engineering group Meggitt eased 0.6p at 383.9p after warning of continued softness in the civil aerospace aftermarket. Nevertheless, the group said it expects to see percentage revenue grow thin the mid single digits in 2013.

Broker downgrades took their toll today.

Chemicals group Croda International continued to slide, down 10.5p at 2,161.5p, not helped by a downgrade from buy to hold at DeutscheBank.

Weir Group lost 22p at 1,772p when Jefferies International downgraded the industrial pump maker from buy to hold.

Waste and water company Pennon Group dropped 11.75p at 705.75p following a Deutsche Bank downgrade from buy to hold, with the target trimmed from 800p to 718p.

On the upside, mining stocks recovered from a poor start, with Rio Tinto up 50.25p at 3,215.75p, BHP Billiton ahead 13.75p at 2,022.75p and Vedanta Resources 5.5p higher at 1,164.5p.

Investment managers were the big success story of the day, with Aberdeen Asset Management up 8.1p at 343.1p, Schroders gaining 19.5p at 1,571.5p and Hargreaves Lansdown 13.75p better at 760.25p.

Tullow Oil improved 32.5p at 1,439.5p on receiving an upgrade from neutral to overweight at JP Morgan Cazenove. Other oil producers fell in line with lower crude prices, with Shell off 10.75p at 2,230.75p and BP down 0.6p at 443.9p.

BSkyB rose 0.5p at 759.5p when Investec upgraded the satellite broadcaster from hold to buy and raised its target price from 800p to 850p.

Luxury brand Burberry gained 14.5p at 1,229.5p on the read across from upbeat numbers from Swiss peer Richemont.

However, airline group IAG topped the midday leaderboard, climbing 5.4p

Issue Date: 02 Nov 2012