London Close: FTSE firmer as pound losses ground after May speech

Digital Look Sharecast | 22 Sep, 2017 17:27 | | |


London stocks had reversed earlier losses to trade a little higher by Friday's close, helped along by a weaker pound as investors weighed up a key speech by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.64% to 7,310.64, while the pound was down 0.44% against the dollar at 1.3522 and 0.63% weaker versus the euro at 1.1302 as the single currency was boosted by encouraging business activity data for the bloc.

Over in Europe, the DAX was 0.06% lower to 12,592.35, the CAC 40 traded 0.27% higher to 5,281.29 and the IBEX 35 gained 0.08% at 10,305.00

Stocks had kicked off the session in the red amid concerns about North Korea, which threatened on Thursday to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

Speaking at a United Nations meeting in New York, North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said the country could consider a nuclear test of "unprecedented scale".

Investors were also weighing up the latest speech from Theresa May regarding the UK's view of Brexit and ongoing negotiations.

In it, she drew many similarities between Britain and the EU and stated that if the complicated talks to unravel more than 40 years of union should fail, then the only beneficiaries would be those who "reject our values and oppose our interests."

She also asserted the UK's call for a two year transition out of the EU while offereing concessions on a divorce deal as she appealed for a revival of Brexit negotiations.

Market participants were also digesting the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry, which showed that factory orders in the UK grew at their weakest rate since April in September.

The CBI's factory order book balanced fell to +7 from +13 in August, missing expectations for an unchanged reading, largely due to the food and drink sector.

Meanwhile, the export order book balance came in at +10 in September from +11 the month before and the output balance for the last three months fell to +17 from +30.

Still, the CBI pointed out that all three balances remained above the long-run averages.

On the corporate front, specialty chemicals company Johnson Matthey racked up healthy gains for the second day running after it announced a £200m investment in battery technology on Thursday that will allow it to tap into the growing electric car market.

Pets at Home surged after a capital markets day on Thursday that was more upbeat than expected, according to analysts.

Acacia Mining was also on the front foot after saying it has yielded positive results from a trial to increase the proportion of sellable gold produced by its smallest mine in the country.

Going the other way, Smiths Group was under the cosh after it reported a small decline in full year underlying revenue but 11% growth on a reported basis thanks to the weak pound and said its strategic progress set it up to return to growth next year.

Saga, the specialist provider of products and services for those over 50, reversed course to nudge just a touch lower after it reported a 5.5% jump in its underlying pre-tax profit for the first half to £110.2m.

Shares in oil rig builder Lamprell tanked as it posted a drop in first-half revenue and warned that revenue for 2018 would be 10% lower on the year.

In terms of sectors, heavily-weighted mining stocks were marginally higher on the day, with BHP Billiton, Antofagasta, Anglo American and Glencore all up a touch following S&P's downgrade of China's credit rating on Thursday.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,310.64 0.64%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,517.36 0.51%
techMARK (TASX) 3,443.31 0.85%

FTSE 100 - Risers

AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,912.00p 3.01%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,492.00p 3.01%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 427.80p 2.71%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 634.50p 2.50%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,454.00p 2.18%
WPP (WPP) 1,414.00p 1.95%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,437.00p 1.91%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 3,803.00p 1.90%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 939.50p 1.90%
Pearson (PSON) 576.50p 1.77%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,517.00p -5.95%
Kingfisher (KGF) 296.70p -1.17%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,349.00p -0.93%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 66.91p -0.80%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 729.10p -0.76%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 413.10p -0.72%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,191.00p -0.58%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 233.30p -0.43%
National Grid (NG.) 944.10p -0.40%
ITV (ITV) 166.30p -0.36%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Pets at Home Group (PETS) 207.50p 6.63%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 178.30p 4.33%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 244.80p 3.55%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 664.50p 3.26%
Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) 497.70p 2.87%
Indivior (INDV) 325.10p 2.85%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 185.00p 2.60%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 401.40p 2.50%
Polymetal International (POLY) 828.50p 2.42%
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 1,771.00p 2.37%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 445.00p -2.87%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 957.00p -2.71%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,632.00p -2.44%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,325.00p -2.29%
JPMorgan Indian Investment Trust (JII) 710.00p -2.07%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 5,830.00p -2.02%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 286.10p -1.82%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 198.80p -1.55%
Metro Bank (MTRO) 3,292.00p -1.29%
Evraz (EVR) 290.40p -1.25%

More news

11:19 Renishaw Q1 profit and revenue rise on Far East orders

FSTE 250 engineer Renishaw reported a rise in first-quarter profit and revenue on Friday thanks in part to a number of large orders from Far East customers in the consumer electronics markets.

11:07 Property Franchise says Belvoir offer 'significantly' undervalues the group

The Property Franchise Group outlined the reasons for its rejection of a merger offer from Belvoir Lettings on Friday, saying it “significantly undervalues” the group.

10:56 PowerHouse puts gasification system through 36-hour demonstration

Ultra-high temperature waste-to-energy and waste-to-hydrogen systems developer PowerHouse Energy Group has confirmed the successful demonstration of its G3-UHT gasification system to investors, potential business partners and media on two recent open days at the Thornton Science Park near Chester.

10:48 Velocys picks Mississippi site for first US biorefinery

Renewable fuels company Velocys announced on Friday that it has signed a site option agreement with Adams County in the State of Mississippi for its first US biorefinery, to be located in Natchez, Mississippi.

10:39 Armadale Capital agrees £0.4m facility for graphite project progression

Natural resources-focussed investment company Armadale Capital announced on Friday that the company has agreed a financing facility with a consortium of “high net worth individuals” to provide up to £0.4m in support of the continued development of the Mahenge Liandu Graphite Project in Tanzania, and the completion of a feasibility study in the first half of 2018.

10:33 Public deficit shrinks further, but Chancellor likely to keep powder dry

The UK public deficit continued to shrink more than expected last month as government spending cuts continued, but the Chancellor's Budget next month is not expected to see many big fiscal giveaways.

10:30 Henry Boot signals bumper year given fast rate of completions

Henry Boot updated the market on its current trading on Friday, saying that it continued to be “very strong” across all business segments - in particular within property development and land promotion.

09:46 Interserve wins five-year facilities management contract with DWP

Interserve has won a major facilities management contract with the UK government, as chatter about a possible bid for the troubled company grew louder after a succession of profit warnings this year.

08:55 London open: Stocks climb as Trump Trade looks back on

London stocks pinged higher on Friday to wipe out losses from the previous session as the pound was weaker against the dollar after the US Senate approved a budget plan for 2018.

08:34 IHG boasts good growth as development pipeline surges

InterContinental Hotels Group reported a “good” third quarter on Friday, with global comparable revenue per available room up 2.3%, and ahead 2.2% in the year-to-date through the third quarter.