London close: Stocks little changed ahead of FOMC minutes

Alexander Bueso WebFG News | 11 Oct, 2017 17:26 | | |


London stocks ended a touch lower on Wednesday in a pretty listless session, as investors awaited the release of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's September policy meeting, after the close.

The FTSE 100 finished down 0.06% to 7,533.81, while the pound was 0.02% higher versus the dollar at 1.3204 and 0.30% weaker against the euro at 1.1148.

IG analyst Joshua Mahony said: "A lack of any real notable economic data from Europe today means the market’s attention will undoubtedly be geared towards the release of the FOMC minutes, with investors looking out for any clues as to whether a third 2017 hike will transpire. Amid a strengthening economy and a rising chance of Trump passing his tax cuts, there is reason to believe that we will see the role of monetary policy diminish amid a growing influence of government-led stimulus."

The FOMC minutes are due at 1900 BST.

Away from the UK and the US, investors were keeping an eye on Spain after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont softened his stance on independence on Tuesday, looking to negotiate with Madrid.

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "While Puigdemont remained clear that they had been given a mandate for independence by the Catalan people, his call for talks in order to find a peaceful resolution was the much preferred option at this stage. A declaration of independence on Tuesday could have led to a chain of events that made the situation much worse and seen Puigdemont arrested, likely leading to more unrest."

In corporate news, Smith & Nephew rallied amid speculation that activist investor Elliott Management has built a stake in the company and NMC Health was boosted by an initiation at 'overweight' by CI Capital Holdings.

Homeware retailer Dunelm racked up strong gains after it reported a 9.3% jump in total like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to the end of September, boosted by favourable weather comparatives and “strong” growth across the business, especially online, where LFL sales grew 46% to £19.9m.

Hargreaves Lansdown ticked up after saying it enjoyed a strong start to its new financial year, with solid levels of net new business flows and assets under administration swelling 3.5% over the first quarter or 21% over the same period last year.

Going the other way, Mondi tanked after warning that full-year profits will be below expectations, while Ibstock fell after saying Wayne Sheppard plans to retire in 2018 after 22 years with the group, including the last two as chief executive.

Retailer Next was in the red after Morgan Stanley cut its stance on the stock to 'underweight' from 'equalweight'.

Countryside Properties ticked higher after revealing a 28% rise in home completions for the year to 30 September.

Wood Group also lost a little ground despite being awarded a new multi-million dollar contract by Total.

Recruiter PageGroup was also weaker even as it said profit in the third quarter rose, while subprime lender Provident Financial was under the cosh as Barclays downgraded the stock to 'underweight' ahead of its third-quarter update on Friday.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,533.81 -0.06%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,167.78 0.11%
techMARK (TASX) 3,545.49 0.37%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Whitbread (WTB) 4,028.00p 3.41%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,928.00p 3.32%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,401.00p 3.09%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,289.00p 2.87%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 623.50p 2.55%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,685.00p 1.99%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,379.00p 1.50%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,611.00p 1.32%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,130.00p 1.25%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,416.00p 0.99%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Mondi (MNDI) 1,926.00p -7.80%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,210.00p -2.94%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,366.50p -2.15%
WPP (WPP) 1,372.00p -1.93%
ITV (ITV) 173.70p -1.47%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,430.00p -1.39%
Next (NXT) 5,050.00p -1.27%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,569.00p -1.14%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 463.60p -0.98%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 66.50p -0.89%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Dunelm Group (DNLM) 745.00p 6.28%
IP Group (IPO) 138.70p 4.84%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 1,178.00p 3.88%
IWG (IWG) 327.00p 3.58%
Aldermore Group (ALD) 245.90p 3.10%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 226.70p 2.72%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 399.60p 2.49%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 337.30p 2.40%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 218.40p 2.10%
Great Portland Estates (GPOR) 613.00p 2.08%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Pagegroup (PAGE) 477.10p -9.21%
Capita (CPI) 544.50p -4.39%
Provident Financial (PFG) 800.50p -4.30%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 264.30p -3.58%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 627.50p -2.71%
Hays (HAS) 190.00p -2.26%
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 221.50p -2.21%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 490.50p -2.10%
FirstGroup (FGP) 113.00p -2.09%
Aggreko (AGK) 893.00p -2.08%

More news

15 Dec London close: Footsie gains as pound drops, Wall Street hits fresh highs

The top flight index recovered some ground on Friday, but mostly on account of weakness in Sterling after German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly echoed other European Union officials, saying "the most difficult phase is ahead of us".

15 Dec Week ahead: US data, Catalan elections in focus

The focus in the coming week will continue to be on the ebb and flow of data out of the US, including Republicans' progress on securing passage of their tax cuts.

15 Dec US open: Stocks jump as Republicans move to secure passage of tax cuts

Wall Street is heading higher again on Friday amid news that Republicans were tweaking their proposed tax cuts in order to secure prompt passage of the US tax bill.

15 Dec Airbus chief executive to step down in board shake-up

The chief executive of French planemaker Airbus will step down from his position in 2019 as the company announced a major shake-up of its management team.

15 Dec FTSE 250 movers: TalkTalk rises but Serco gives back gains

London’s FTSE 250 was up 0.1% to 20,023.23 in afternoon trade on Friday as the Christmas lull kicked in.

15 Dec US industrial production rises slightly less than expected in November

Industrial production in the States rose slightly less quickly than expected last month, despite higher output of business equipment and materials.

15 Dec Strategic Minerals renegotiates acquisition of Leigh Creek Copper Mine

Diversified mineral production and development company Strategic Minerals announced on Friday that, after the successful completion of technical and financial due diligence on the Leigh Creek Copper Mine company, it has agreed to continue with the acquisition on renegotiated terms.

15 Dec FTSE 100 movers: Sky jumps but retailers retreat on H&M sales

London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3% to 7,469.23 in quiet afternoon trade on Friday.

15 Dec Gfinity partners with Microsoft for next Halo World Championship

International esports entertainment group Gfinity has been named as a preferred event partner to Microsoft for the forthcoming ‘Halo World Championship 2018’ for the next season, it announced on Friday.

15 Dec Hutchison Chi-Med begins fruquintinib trial in US

Hutchison China MediTech, known as Chi-Med, has initiated the United States Phase I bridging clinical trial of fruquintinib, it announced on Friday.