FTSE almost static at midday

Better-than-expected results from US investment banking giant JP Morgan failed to inspire the London market today as the FTSE 100 Index stuck close to its opening mark.

Better-than-expected results from US investment banking giant JP Morgan failed to inspire the London market today as the FTSE 100 Index stuck close to its opening mark.

The firm kicked off the bank reporting season with profits of $4.8bn (€3.74bn) for the second quarter, despite a UK bonus tax charge of $550m (€429m).

The Footsie edged 1.1 points higher to 5254.6, recovering slightly from a difficult start when the US Federal Reserve edged down its forecast for the world's biggest economy.

The tone of minutes from the Fed's most recent meeting raised fears of weaker global demand and caused oil prices to fall.

Asian stocks were also lower as investors looked to take profits after a decent run for world markets in recent days. Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Nikkei both lost more than 1%.

A poor session for miners saw many players in the sector on the back foot, with Kazakhmys and Rio Tinto off 11p to 1000p and 27p to 3107.5p respectively. Among the banks, Barclays was 3.75p lower at 309.8p, although Royal Bank of Scotland later pulled into positive territory adding 0.2p to 46.4p.

In corporate news, shares in Mothercare were almost 4% lower after it revealed a 4% decline in first quarter like-for-like sales in the UK.

While the decline was offset by another period of strong international growth, shares in the FTSE 250 Index company still dropped 15.5p to 536.5p.

Fashion retailer SuperGroup moved in the opposite direction, jumping 12% or 94.5p to 894.5p, after it more than trebled full-year pre-tax profits and said there was plenty of potential for international growth.

The Superdry brand owner - which listed in March - was only surpassed at the top of the second-tier risers board by IT firm Dimension Data, which soared 20% or 20.2p to 121.8p after the company agreed a £2.1bn (€2.5bn) takeover by Japanese giant NTT.

The biggest faller in the FTSE 250 was fund manager Gartmore, which slid more than 5% or 5.8p to 104.3p after the resignation of its star trader Guillaume Rambourg.

Mr Rambourg was suspended in March as the company launched an investigation over "breaches of internal procedures".

The firm said he had "decided to resign to devote his attention to concluding the FSA investigation into his conduct and to allow Gartmore to put these matters behind it".

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