UK stocks rise as Draghi’s big bazooka encourages buyers

The FTSE 100 is trading higher this morning on the announcement that the European Central Bank is to pump billions of euros into the eurozone.


Mario Draghi's announcement delighted markets

The impact of the European Central Bank €1trn bond-buying bonanza, announced yesterday, continues to lift world markets, with UK stocks ahead in early action.

At 10.16am, the FTSE 100 was ahead by 30 points to 6,826. Last night, the Dow finished its session nearly 260 points higher at 17,814.

Here are some of biggest stories this morning:

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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah dies:Oil prices rose on news that Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has died. He had been battling pneumonia. Early morning, Brent crude was up $1.07 or 2.2% to $49.59. King Abdullah was widely regarded as the prime mover behind Opec's strategy of not cutting oil production to drive smaller players, including many US shale companies, out of business

Three owner in talks to buy O2 for £10.25bn: Li Ka-Shing, owner of Hutchison Whampoa owner and Three mobile network, is in talks to buy Britain's second-largest mobile provider O2 for up to £10.25bn from Spain's Telefonica. Combining Three with O2 would create the UK's biggest mobile group, potentially leading to a probe by the competition watchdog.

The news led to speculation of further merger and acquisition (M&A) activity across the telecoms sector. Vodafone rose by 2.4% to 244.45p, while BT was barely changed 63.64p.

Don't bank on QE Mario: Few commentators are expecting the QE programme announced yesterday by the EU to have much effect on the moribund eurozone economy, not least Moneyweek editor John Stepek. Several experts tell The Guardianthat QE does not address deep structural problems lack of investment, inflexible labour markets, lack of government reforms in countries such as France and Italy.

Meanwhile, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, says: "Quite simply, the banking transmission mechanism in the euro area continues to remain impaired, and until that is fixed a lot of this QE cash is unlikely to trickle down to where it is needed.

"As things stand, banks currently have no incentive to sell any sovereign bonds they hold while they are still trying to build up their balance sheets, and while the ECB [European Central Bank] is charging a negative deposit rate. If anything the continuing slide in the oil price is likely to have more of an economic benefit than yesterday's measures."

Syriza heading for victory in Greek elections: Polls continue to suggest that Greece's left-wing Syriza party will win this weekend's election. Syriza is committed to ending austerity measures and markets fear a victory for the party will lead to a Greek exit from the euro. Among other things, the party has promised free electricity to those that have been cut off, to re-hire every public sector worker that has been sacked and to raise pensions.

Power cut: Energy supplier Npower announced it is cutting its standard gas tariff by an average 5.1% from 16 February, making it the fourth energy company to lower gas prices since E.on slashed prices to customers by 3.5% last week. British Gas and Scottish Gas have already cut their prices by 5% and 4.8% respectively.

Ta ta tatty fivers: Victoria Cleland, chief cashier at the Bank of England, says Winston Churchill will appear on the new £5note due in circulation from next year. He'll also be the first face on a polymer bank note. Speaking on BBC Radio's Wake Up to Money, Cleland says polymer will put an end "tatty fivers".

Kam Patel

Kam is a former deputy editor at Hemscott Invest and online editor, City A.M and he was also previously the Digital Editor at IFA Magazine. Kam is currently a senior journalist at The Global Treasurer and contributes to MoneyWeek. Kam shares expertise on the FTSE 100, investing and global stocks.