FTSE 100 up in early trade but investors remain wary

The FTSE 100 opened higher this morning, despite headwinds from Japan and Europe.

14-12-11-Draghi-634
Mario Draghi will be assessing the effectiveness of the LTRO programme

The FTSE 100 pushed ahead in early trade but investors remain wary after more disappointing overnight data from Japan and ahead of key inflation reports later today from Germany and France.

In early action, the FTSE 100 was up 7.47 to 6,507.5, with oils in demand despite further falls in crude prices on the back of a weaker demand forecast from Opecand a surprise increase in US crude inventories.

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at online trading platform CMC, says the Opec report is "a reminder that it isn't just higher supply driving oil prices lower; it is because of slowing global demand, which doesn't bode well for the world economy in 2015".

Overnight, Japan machinery orders, a leading indicator of business investment, tanked by 6.4% over October much more than the forecast 2.4%. Later this morning, it is expected German consumer prices will have remained flat in November, while France could have seen deflation of -0.1%.

Investors are also eyeing an assessment from the European Central Bank of its long-term refinancing operations (LTRO), aimed at bolstering the region's banks. "If it is judged that the LTRO programme isn't doing the job, corporate and government bond purchases may be needed", says Lawler.

Oil stocks in demand included Petrofac (up 1.61%); BP (1.6%); Shell (1%) and Tullow Oil (1.4%).

Fracking pumpmaker Weir was also in focus after its shares fell 2.36% on a downgrade by Citi Research to 'neutral' from 'buy'. Citi says the 35% drop in oil prices since September led to a deterioration in the earnings outlook for the group.

Elsewhere, Sports Direct moved ahead 0.5% after the retailer posted a 5% rise in first half profits.

Costa Coffee and Premier Inn owner Whitbread edged down 0.5% after it revealed a slight slowdown in like-for-like sales growth in the third quarter. It assured, however, that it remains on track to hit full-year forecasts.

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