London close: FTSE 100 drifts higher as May sets Brexit start date

Andrew Schonberg Sharecast | 20 Mar, 2017 17:20 - Updated: 17:20 | | |

Theresa May
  • 442.50
  • -0.03%-0.15
  • Max: 453.57
  • Min: 442.40
  • Volume: 32,770,928
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 579.50
  • -1.45%-8.50
  • Max: 588.00
  • Min: 577.50
  • Volume: 5,087,328
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:17 28/04/17
  • 656.50
  • -0.83%-5.50
  • Max: 663.00
  • Min: 656.50
  • Volume: 4,908,333
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 1,106.00
  • -1.07%-12.00
  • Max: 1,115.00
  • Min: 1,104.00
  • Volume: 2,381,702
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:17 28/04/17
  • 2,330.00
  • -0.43%-10.00
  • Max: 2,344.00
  • Min: 2,318.00
  • Volume: 1,661,363
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:18 28/04/17
  • 199.05
  • -1.53%-3.10
  • Max: 202.15
  • Min: 197.45
  • Volume: 70,080,888
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:16 28/04/17
  • 7,111.00
  • -1.15%-83.00
  • Max: 7,225.00
  • Min: 7,015.00
  • Volume: 1,705,662
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:30 28/04/17
  • 275.40
  • 0.55%1.50
  • Max: 275.60
  • Min: 272.70
  • Volume: 13,383,010
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:25 28/04/17
  • 183.25
  • 0.41%0.75
  • Max: 184.50
  • Min: 182.05
  • Volume: 54,515,232
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 2,002.50
  • -0.40%-8.00
  • Max: 2,053.50
  • Min: 2,002.50
  • Volume: 5,508,719
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:17 28/04/17
  • 6,805.00
  • 1.57%105.00
  • Max: 6,810.00
  • Min: 6,709.40
  • Volume: 520,565
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:18 28/04/17
  • 2,052.50
  • -0.34%-7.00
  • Max: 2,081.50
  • Min: 2,052.50
  • Volume: 6,269,249
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:18 28/04/17
  • 1,452.00
  • 1.11%16.00
  • Max: 1,470.00
  • Min: 1,435.00
  • Volume: 1,237,386
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:16 28/04/17
  • 7,203.94
  • -0.46%-33.23
  • Max: 7,243.31
  • Min: 7,197.28
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 3,474.67
  • -0.18%-6.17
  • Max: 3,483.33
  • Min: 3,471.63
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 1,519.34
  • -0.20%-3.05
  • Max: 1,521.99
  • Min: 1,518.11
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:30 28/04/17
  • 14,889.10
  • 1.37%201.15
  • Max: 14,978.97
  • Min: 14,686.81
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 7,455.10
  • -0.23%-17.05
  • Max: 7,526.04
  • Min: 7,455.10
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 2,989.83
  • 0.79%23.58
  • Max: 2,998.95
  • Min: 2,964.53
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 4,014.93
  • -0.40%-16.04
  • Max: 4,034.05
  • Min: 4,011.86
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 3,962.49
  • -0.37%-14.85
  • Max: 3,980.41
  • Min: 3,959.50
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 4,526.36
  • -1.48%-67.90
  • Max: 4,594.26
  • Min: 4,491.25
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 17,821.01
  • -1.04%-187.88
  • Max: 18,011.94
  • Min: 17,683.57
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • 3,051.25
  • -1.02%-31.53
  • Max: 3,083.68
  • Min: 3,049.27
  • Volume: 0
  • MM 200 : n/a
17:20 28/04/17
  • n/a
  • n/an/a
  • Max: n/a
  • Min: n/a
  • Volume: n/a
  • MM 200 : n/a
n/a

Equities in London spent the session drifting sideways even as Prime Minister Theresa May set 29 March as the day she would trigger Article 50 to begin Brexit talks to bid farewell to the EU.

May's chosen date -- the anniversary of the infamous and exceptionally bloody Battle of Towton in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses -- came as chatter mounted that the Conservatives might call a snap election for 4 May.

"The news (of an Article 50 date) was hardly a surprise -- however the reminder that the UK is facing years of difficult and likely hostile trade negotiations seemed to suppress investors’ appetite for the (sterling) currency," said Spreadex financial analyst Connor Campbell.

The market closed with the FTSE 100 up 0.07% or 4.85 points to 7,429.81, its gains in part linked to sterling softness of the Brexit news. The FTSE 250 did better, rising 56.89 points or 0.30% to 19,151.80. Key stocks indices in Europe were down for the most part, with Wall St mixed.

Minor rises in the prices of gold and silver, while copper fell, had some benefit for miners such as Randgold Resources and Fresnillo.

Insurers tended to do well, as did high-street supermarkets Sainsbury and Tesco and consumer-goods giants Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.

"Dividend stalwarts are behind the steady recovery in the FTSE 100 today, as the index consolidates above the 7400 level," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"While racy sectors like mining and banks are out of favour, it is firms like Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and others that are steadily pushing higher," said Beauchamp.

Commercial property performed well with both British Land and Land Securities on the up, while house builders Barratt Developments and Persimmon firmed after Rightmove property data was issued early on Monday.

The property tracking website said house prices in England and Wales rose 1.3% on the month in March to £310,108, the biggest increase since 2007. On the year, growth was 2.3%, from 7.6%.

Of the blue-chip stocks retreating, Hikma Pharmaceuticals topped the pile after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its stance on the stock to 'neutral'.

In corporate news, Vodafone slipped after agreeing terms of a $23bn merger between its Indian business and Idea Cellular, which was part of the Aditya Birla Group.

Oil majors Shell and BP were falling with crude-oil, which sagged amid market unease about cartel Opec's ability to control prices amid a global supply glut and US shale output.

Returning to Brexit, Downing St spokesman said Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's ambassador to EU, had informed the European Council that Article 50 would be triggered on 29 March.

This news was released as markets speculated on whether May would call a general election for 4 May. No. 10 has said May would not call an election until 2020.

Meantime, market participants were still mulling the latest G-20 meeting, which saw an anti-protectionist commitment dropped from its communique after US opposition US.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,429.81 0.07%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,151.80 0.30%
techMARK (TASX) 3,489.33 0.23%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Dixons Carphone (DC.) 309.60p 2.62%
3i Group (III) 735.00p 1.80%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 274.30p 1.71%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 340.10p 1.70%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,977.00p 1.65%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,659.00p 1.64%
Old Mutual (OML) 225.40p 1.63%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,484.00p 1.24%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,155.00p 1.20%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,528.00p 1.13%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 239.70p -1.64%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,134.00p -1.57%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,204.00p -1.25%
Centrica (CNA) 214.20p -1.06%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,759.00p -1.06%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,279.00p -1.04%
Barclays (BARC) 228.60p -0.91%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,991.00p -0.75%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,015.00p -0.68%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 193.50p -0.62%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Evraz (EVR) 231.50p 6.00%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,538.00p 4.06%
Vectura Group (VEC) 157.40p 2.54%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,000.00p 2.41%
John Laing Group (JLG) 275.30p 2.27%
Homeserve (HSV) 565.00p 2.08%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 487.90p 2.07%
SSP Group (SSPG) 416.20p 2.03%
Hunting (HTG) 536.00p 2.00%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,103.00p 1.94%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 442.60p -5.81%
JRP Group (JRP) 138.00p -3.56%
Redefine International (RDI) 36.51p -3.26%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 1,703.00p -3.24%
IP Group (IPO) 163.00p -3.21%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 179.60p -2.92%
Assura (AGR) 59.00p -2.64%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 197.40p -2.37%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 881.50p -2.27%
Cranswick (CWK) 2,434.00p -2.25%

More news

28 Apr S&P reaffirms AA rating on UK, outlook clouded by Brexit

Standard&Poor's reaffirmed its rating on the United Kingdom's long-term sovereign debt but warned of the potential impact on the economy from the uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations and their eventual outcome.

28 Apr FX round-up: Sterling nonchalant after UK Q1 growth disappoints

Sterling made steady gains on most key cross on Friday, appearing nonchalant in its reaction to disappointing UK economic growth data out mid-morning.

28 Apr Europe close: Weak US, UK GDP weigh on shareson the continent

European stocks ended the day on a mixed note after weak readings on UK and US GDP dragged many indices into the red at the end of the month.

28 Apr Laird off to solid start, but second half remains key

Electronic component maker Laird reported strong sales growth in the first quarter of 2017 after a difficult year.

28 Apr General Motors truck and SUV sales drive record earnings

Growth at General Motors accelerated past analyst forecasts with a record first-quarter set of earnings.

28 Apr RBS and Lloyds Bank customers hit by online glitch on payday

Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group customers were prevented from accessing money in their accounts due to a technical glitch ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

28 Apr Kennedy Wilson confirms quarterly dividend, new office leases

Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate announced it will pay an interim quarterly dividend of 12.0p per share, while also reporting strong leasing momentum across key investments in Greater London and Dublin.

28 Apr Time spins backwards on decision not to sell business

Time Inc stock reversed recent gains after the board decided not to sell the publishing business as it was being "reinvigorated" under a new strategy.

28 Apr Morgan Stanley downgrades Berendsen on competition concerns

Berendsen not only needs to invest in property, plant and equipment but is facing increasing competition in the UK, warned Morgan Stanley as it downgraded the stock on Friday.

28 Apr UK mortgages and consumer credit card borrowing both decline - BBA

Mortgage approvals and consumer credit card lending both fell in March according to fresh data from the banking industry, providing the reason for the fall in house prices announced elsewhere on Friday.