ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Monday 8 Feb 2016

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London open: Stocks flat as investors look for fresh catalysts; Randgold shines

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Stocks in London were largely flat on Monday, flitting between small gains and losses as investors struggled for direction following last week’s selloff.

At 0900 GMT, London’s FTSE 100 was flat at 5,849.

“With most of Asia on holiday for Chinese New Year celebrations, European markets have little to focus on apart from the oil price. Bets on the direction of oil prices remain split, but crude has moved slightly higher on the back of talks between Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, with European equity markets tracking higher as a result,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at stockbroker Interactive Investor.

“After a torrid start to the year, investors will be hoping that the Year of the Monkey will bring good fortune. The hiatus between the calendar New Year and the lunar New Year typically represents a ‘dead’ period for the Chinese economy, with activity picking up once the lunar New Year is past. Investors will be hoping that the wide range of stimulus measures and new investment projects talked of in recent weeks will finally begin to bear fruit once China goes back to work after its week long holiday.”

Oil prices were firmer, with West Texas Intermediate up 0.9% at $31.17 a barrel and Brent crude 1% higher at $34.39.

On the corporate front, Randgold Resources was in the black after reporting record output for 2015, although profits came in lower.

FTSE 250 Poundland Group was on the front foot after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’.

BT Group edged a touch lower after it confirmed reports that it is looking for a new group finance director.

John Wood Group was under the cosh after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to ‘sell’ from ‘neutral’, while Amec Foster Wheeler was also lower after Nomura cut it to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’.

Aerospace and defence group Rolls-Royce was in the red following press reports over the weekend that it was set to slash its dividend this week.

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