FTSE 100 up on ECB meeting hopes

The blue chip index was up in morning trading, as markets were dominated by speculation over European Central Bank policy action at the monthly meeting later today. The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee minutes will also be released today, at 12 noon.

Miners led the index up, as Lonmin was an early riser, adding 5.76 per cent. The platinum firm announced this morning a peace accord had been signed in South Africa, which is considered the first step towards restoring normality at the Marikana mine.

Randgold Resources and Antofagasta were also up, by 4.42 per cent and 4.11 per cent respectively, as gold prices rallied yesterday.

Supermarket chain WM Morrison added 4.52 per cent in early trading, as it reported a solid set of first-quarter results.

Premier Foods was also up by nearly six per cent as it announced yesterday it had hired former Sainsbury’s marketer to support its brand strategy.

Plastic technology group Carclo led the fallers, despite the firm reiterating it was on track for the full year this morning. It fell by 8.42 per cent in early trading.

Car dealership Pendragon fell again, down by 3.33 per cent.

London-listed Goldenport shed 5.5 per cent. The shipping services firm cut its interim dividend and put the full-year payout on hold at the end of August.

Entertainment and leisure firms Punch Taverns and Cineworld were also clustered in the fallers, dropping 2.03 per cent and 1.92 per cent respectively.

UK banks buoyed the index this morning. In early deals, HSBC was up by 0.89 per cent, Lloyds added 2.42 per cent, Barclays rose 1.29 per cent and RBS was up by 0.78 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed relatively flat, up just 0.01 per cent. In the US, the Dow Jones closed up just 0.09 per cent at 13,047.48.