FTSE 100 closes in red after lacklustre day


Britain's blue chip index ended a fairly lacklustre day in the red as investors turn cautious ahead of comments from outgoing Fed chairman Bernanke and after a global growth downgrade.

According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) GDP (gross domestic product) in 2013 is expected to grow by 2.7% - from a forecast of  3.1% in May.

Ben Bernanke speaks later tonight and tomorrow the minutes of the October FOMC meeting, will be under the magnifying glass.

Both events are potential catalysts and commentators will be keen to assess them, especially for further clues as to stimulus tapering, but for now, it appears investors appear to be in 'wait and see' mode.

Footsie ended Tuesday down 25 points, or 0.38% to close at 6,698.

Michael Hewson, at CMC Markets, puts current trading themes thus "... investors seem to care less about the fundamentals of the markets and the companies that they invest in, and more about the direction of policy of the central banks, and in particular the Federal Reserve."

In contrast to FTSE 100, sentiment appeared more upbeat in the junior market. FTSE AIM All share added 1.08, while FTSE AIM 100 gained 6.46.

On the Footsie, easyJet (LON:EZJ) was the undoubted star as it unveiled dividend payments of £308mln for its last trading year as it piled on the profits. It was the biggest gainer on Footsie, adding 7.1%.

Profits rose 51% to £478mln on revenues 10.5% higher at £4.26bn, but the icing on the cake was the £175mln (44.1p) special dividend.

The biggest loser was Aberdeen Asset Management, which shed 3% to go to 475.20p. It was in contratst to yesterday's surge, whcih saw the stock jump 15%  after it struck a deal with Lloyds (LON:LLOY).

Among the smaller firms, Sierra Rutile (LON;SRX) stood out on a bid approach from an unnamed group. The pigment specialist jumped 27.75% but broker Sanlam suggested £1 might need to be offered to snare a deal. 

Oil firm Lekoil (LON:LEK), which listed on AIM this year, jumped 15.15% as it unveiled an almost four-fold increase in reserves at the Ogo prospect located on the OPL310 licence, offshore Nigeria.

Partner on the licence Afren (LON:AFR) also gained 8.13%.

Caza Oil & Gas (LON:CAZ) gained 11.11% after it reported an excellent test result for its latest well on its Bone Spring acreage in New Mexico, with oil already being sold and gas to follow shortly.

The West Copperline 29 Fed #1H horizontal test well hit its intended depth of about 15,000 feet in the 2nd Bone Spring interval in October and was fracture stimulated on 1 November.

Caza added that under controlled flow-back,  producing rates remained steady at a peak 24 hour gross rate of 800 barrels (bbls) of oil and 1.21mln cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of about 1,000 bbls of oil equivalent.

Low-cost Africa focused  airline Fastjet (LON:FJET) put on 3.88%. Yesterday, the company posted another month of encouraging passenger statistics.

In October, it carried a total of 33,778 passengers in Tanzania, with the planes 70% full on average despite a 14% increase in capacity.

The company also welcomed increased income from fees for baggage, ticket changes, and in-flight sales, known as ancillary revenues, which now account for 10% of total revenues, up from 7%.

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