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FTSE 100 movers: Miners gain but HSBC slumps on Bernstein note

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Monday 29 Feb 2016

FTSE 100 movers: Miners gain but HSBC slumps on Bernstein note

(ShareCast News) - London's FTSE 100 index was down 0.3% to 6,075.39 at 1525 GMT, as investors weighed up disappointment that the G20 meeting did not yield a coordinated stimulus effort against the People's Bank of China's move to cut the reserve requirement ratio.
HSBC was in the red after Bernstein downgraded the stock to 'underperform' from 'market perform' and cut the price target to 380p from 550p.

It said the bank's "quite dreadful" fourth quarter results were symptomatic of the macro headwinds the global banking system faces this year, pointing to a lack of credit demand, a sharp drop in corporate activity and a low rate environment that can only get worse.

"In this environment, we find it impossible for the bank to sustain its progressive dividend policy and expect the bank to signal a cut anytime in the next 6 months," it said.

"For a stock that is widely held as an income stock, we feel a cut would be painful and would reset valuation significantly downwards this year."

Supermarket retailer Tesco was under the cosh after denying reports that it was planning to cut store staff numbers by 39,000 over the next three years, with news Amazon is entering the fresh food market also ramping up the industry pressure.

A leaked document containing details of Tesco's "Project Pace" programme revealed the supermarket giant's planners have examined a scenario of slashing one-in-six store staff as a means of boosting profits.

Tesco confirmed the document, which was first published by The Grocer magazine over the weekend, was not a fake but said the calculations were part of various model scenarios it had mulled but that there were no plans to announce further job losses.

AstraZeneca was weaker despite announcing that it has entered into a licensing deal with China Medical System Holdings Ltd for the commercialisation rights in China to its hypertension medicine Plendil.

Under the terms of the agreement, China Medical will pay the pharmaceutical company $310m (£223m) for the license to sell Plendil in China. AstraZeneca will maintain a significant, long-term interest in the future value derived from Plendil sales in China and will manufacture and supply the medicine to CMS.

The company also said on Monday that it has entered into an agreement with CMS and its associated company, Tibet Rhodiola Pharmaceutical Holding Co., for the divestment of the global rights to Imdur - used to prevent chest pain - outside the US.

St James's Place was on the back foot. The Sunday Telegraph's Questor said investors should avoid wealth managers, also pointing to Hargreaves Lansdown, Old Mutual and Charles Stanley.

Heavily-weighted miners - which are dependent on demand from China - were the standout gainers on the index after the People's Bank of China cut its reserve requirement ratio by 50 basis points, in a move to pump liquidity into its stuttering economy.

Cutting the reserve ratio frees up capital by lowering the amount of back-up funds banks must hold with the central bank, a move the PBOC has now made five times since November 2014.

Shopping centre owner Intu Properties was on the front foot after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to 'buy' from 'neutral'.

Risers

Anglo American (AAL) 482.95p 7.18%
Glencore (GLEN) 133.85p 4.37%
Intu Properties (INTU) 299.60p 3.92%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,310.00p 3.23%
Pearson (PSON) 861.50p 3.05%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 1,901.00p 2.18%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,014.00p 2.06%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 493.40p 1.86%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 729.00p 1.80%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,515.00p 1.72%

Fallers

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 2,706.00p -3.94%
Tesco (TSCO) 179.20p -2.69%
Centrica (CNA) 207.20p -1.89%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,135.50p -1.64%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,296.00p -1.58%
Capita (CPI) 1,015.00p -1.46%
DCC (DCC) 5,645.00p -1.40%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 460.95p -1.37%
Schroders (SDR) 2,604.00p -1.36%
St James's Place (STJ) 858.50p -1.32%

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