London close: Stocks edge higher on Chinese data, dip in Sterling

Alexander Bueso WebFG News | 17 Jul, 2017 17:12 | | |

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Oil equipment stocks and miners paced gains in the marketplace at the start of the week, lifted by encouraging Chinese data and a weaker pound.

By the end of trading, the FTSE 100 was standing 0.35% higher at 7,404.13, while the pound was down 0.3% versus the euro at 1.1384 and the US dollar to 1.3058 as Brexit secretary David Davis began a second round of negotiations in Brussels against a backdrop of political infighting among British ministers over the terms of the EU exit.

In parallel the second-tier FTSE 250 was ahead by 0.58% at 19,520.59.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: "Gains in London have been underpinned by the mining sector, which remains in robust form after China GDP data overnight. Recent US dollar weakness has taken a break today, but Friday’s big move lower in the greenback confirms that more losses could be on the way, which is likely to spell further good news for commodity prices and miners as well."

Heavily-weighted mining stocks got a boost after data revealed China's second-quarter gross domestic product grew 6.9% from a year earlier, unchanged from the first quarter and ahead of expectations for 6.8%growth. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 1.7% compared to 1.3% in the first quarter, as expected.

Chinese retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment data for June were also encouraging.

In corporate news, ITV was the standout gainer after it poached Carolyn McCall from easyJet to be its new chief executive.

Carillion rocketed as it won HS2 contracts worth £1.4bn as part of its CEK joint venture with Kier and Eiffage. Meanwhile, Balfour Beatty gained as it won two contracts worth £2.5bn with JV partner Vinci and Mitie was boosted by a double upgrade to 'buy' at Investec.

Centrica was flat as it and Stadtwerke München agreed to combine Centrica's European oil and gas exploration and production business with Bayerngas Norge to form a new joint venture.

Weir Group surged as it said its updated outlook for the group's full-year performance is now for strong constant currency revenue and profit growth, with revenues and operating profits in the oil & gas division set to be above the upper end of analysts' estimates as upstream North American markets have recovered more strongly than anticipated in recent weeks.

AstraZeneca rebounded after last week's rumour that chief executive Pascal Soriot was leaving flip-flopped into new rumours that he was now in the remain camp.

Barclays nudged lower as it emerged that the trial of the bank and four former executives charged with fraud over undisclosed payments to Qatari investors has been set for January 2019.

Elsewhere, the latest survey from Rightmove released overnight revealed that the prices of homes put up for sale in the UK remained just about flat last month.

Newly-marketed property prices edged up 0.1% in June, which was stronger than the previous month’s fall of 0.4%, and is a solid performance as the start of the summer holiday season generally has a dampening effect on both prices and activity, Rightmove said.

As the fundamentals of the housing market remain good, the online property experts said, this had led to the number of sales agreed numbers remaining almost identical to those in 2016, with many parts of the country seeing as high a proportion of properties marked as sold than at any time in the last seven years.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,404.13 0.35%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,520.59 0.58%
techMARK (TASX) 3,494.48 0.18%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,636.00p 3.48%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,160.00p 3.40%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 878.00p 2.27%
Provident Financial (PFG) 2,303.00p 2.13%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,512.00p 2.09%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,436.00p 1.77%
Kingfisher (KGF) 299.00p 1.77%
Old Mutual (OML) 197.40p 1.75%
Mondi (MNDI) 2,047.00p 1.69%
ITV (ITV) 177.70p 1.54%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Experian (EXPN) 1,564.00p -1.51%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 3,451.00p -1.39%
Worldpay Group (WPG) 380.00p -1.04%
Sage Group (SGE) 676.00p -1.02%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,010.00p -0.79%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,690.00p -0.77%
Pearson (PSON) 631.50p -0.63%
British Land Company (BLND) 603.50p -0.58%
Royal Mail (RMG) 398.80p -0.55%
Hammerson (HMSO) 581.50p -0.51%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Carillion (CLLN) 67.35p 19.95%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,982.00p 8.66%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 103.40p 4.97%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 292.70p 4.50%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 610.50p 4.45%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 1,681.00p 3.77%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 758.00p 3.62%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 271.50p 3.27%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,791.00p 3.23%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 453.70p 3.21%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 580.50p -3.97%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 181.20p -3.72%
Renishaw (RSW) 3,865.00p -1.75%
CYBG (CYBG) 274.30p -1.58%
Indivior (INDV) 305.90p -1.58%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,117.00p -1.50%
Great Portland Estates (GPOR) 598.50p -1.48%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 6,360.00p -1.40%
Essentra (ESNT) 545.50p -1.18%
Metro Bank (MTRO) 3,542.00p -1.17%

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