Michele Maatouk WebFG News | 19 May, 2017 12:09 - Updated: 12:17 | | |
London stocks were holding onto gains by midday, rebounding from two days of losses as investors put worries about US President Donald Trump to one side and digested some solid manufacturing data.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.4% to 7,467.84, recovering from a mid-week selloff sparked by concerns that Trump could be impeached. In currency markets, the pound was up 0.5% versus the dollar at 1.300, after dropping to as low as $1.2888 in a mini 'flash crash' late on Thursday.
Meanwhile, oil prices advanced amid growing optimism ahead of next week's OPEC meeting. West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude were up 0.8% to $52.94 a barrel and $49.75, respectively.
Sentiment was given a boost after the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed UK manufacturing output in April was much stronger than expected. The proportion of manufacturing companies that reported order books were above normal levels was +9% more than those reporting levels below normal, which was the highest balance in over two years.
Just over 40% of businesses said the volume of output over the past three months was up, and 12% said it was down, giving a rounded balance of +28% - the fastest pace of growth since December 2013.
However, fuelling concerns about the squeeze on British consumers from rising inflation, a balance of almost a quarter of the 432 manufacturers surveyed expected a sharp rise in average selling prices due to strong pricing pressures from inputs.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Markit, said: "This is an encouraging survey that fuels hopes that the UK economy is on course for some pick-up in growth in the second quarter after GDP expansion more than halved to 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter."
In corporate news, Entertainment One pushed higher after announcing the start of production on a new series of Peppa Pig.
Private landlord group Grainger was also in the black as it hiked its interim dividend 10% after a first half where it secured half of its investment target and cut costs in a market where the proportion of privately rented homes is at its highest levels since records began in 1980.
Just Eat reversed course to trade higher as the Competition and Markets Authority said it is referring its proposed acquisition of Hungryhouse to an in-depth phase 2 investigation.
Aviva was higher but Legal & General dropped after they updated the market on their Solvency II positions.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals slumped as it updated its guidance on full year revenue to be $2bn-$2.1bn in constant currency after last week's delay of its asthma drug application by US regulators.
Close Brothers nudged a touch lower, reversing earlier gains despite reporting "solid" loan book growth in its banking division in the third quarter to the end of April, and saying it remains confident of delivering a good result for the full year.
Senior was boosted by an upgrade at Raymond James, while SIG was lifted as Peel Hunt raised it to 'buy'.
However, Johnson Matthey and Experian were hit by downgrades from UBS and Jefferies, respectively, while British Land and Land Securities were dented by downgrades to 'neutral' at JPMorgan Cazenove. Thomas Cook and Vodafone were downgraded by Barclays.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,620.00p 2.47%
ITV (ITV) 196.00p 2.08%
WPP (WPP) 1,727.00p 1.71%
Provident Financial (PFG) 3,127.00p 1.59%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 388.10p 1.44%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 619.50p 1.39%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,081.00p 1.31%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,329.00p 1.30%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,439.00p 1.29%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 598.00p 1.27%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,625.00p -4.41%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,590.00p -2.39%
Royal Mail (RMG) 423.30p -2.38%
Experian (EXPN) 1,624.00p -2.17%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,033.00p -1.53%
Tesco (TSCO) 182.00p -1.09%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 240.00p -0.87%
Schroders (SDR) 3,099.00p -0.83%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,084.00p -0.73%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 8,305.00p -0.66%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Berendsen (BRSN) 1,092.00p 4.40%
Senior (SNR) 231.90p 4.37%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 440.70p 4.09%
Renishaw (RSW) 3,502.00p 3.40%
Just Eat (JE.) 610.00p 3.04%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 133.40p 2.85%
Aldermore Group (ALD) 256.10p 2.77%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 403.50p 2.75%
SIG (SHI) 136.20p 2.64%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 163.90p 2.57%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hays (HAS) 166.70p -3.81%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,173.00p -3.54%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 92.15p -3.20%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 472.00p -3.00%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 340.10p -2.83%
Essentra (ESNT) 544.00p -2.25%
Allied Minds (ALM) 143.00p -2.12%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 200.20p -1.86%
Drax Group (DRX) 321.80p -1.74%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 580.50p -1.61%
Wall Street’s main indices gave up earlier gains to close lower on Thursday, as healthcare, materials and telecoms stocks dragged investor sentiment down late in the session.
The conclusion of the EU Council summit will be the main focus for markets on Friday, with no FTSE 350 companies expected to report results.
Walt Disney has announced an agreement to buy the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox in a deal worth around $52.4bn, including a 39% stake in UK broadcaster Sky.
The Scottish government has announced it will increase the tax paid by the country’s highest earners, as it bids to raise extra money to fund wage increases in the public sector.
Stocks finished lower, tracking a weak start to trading on Wall Street and on the back of a mixed batch of economic data out of China overnight and a tweak in monetary policy by the People's Bank of China - a timely reminder perhaps of the potential ripple effects of US policy decisions and vice-versa.
London stocks finished lower on Thursday as the Bank of England stood pat on monetary policy, as widely expected, but amid dovishness across the Pond and on the other side of the Channel which resulted in a stronger Sterling.
The Bank of England kept policy on hold by a unanimous vote as had been widely-anticipated given previous guidance for a very gradual pace of tightening over the medium-term.
China's central bank tweaked two of its policy rates in what some analysts said was a bid to relieve pressure on the country's currency.
Bitcoin, the increasingly popular cryptocurrency has dominated Google’s top searches this year.
The European Central Bank has opted to keep all its main policy rates unchanged, with policy-makers reiterating that they expect to keep all their key rates as they are until well past the end of the ECB's net asset purchase programme.