Michele Maatouk Sharecast | 21 Apr, 2017 12:03 - Updated: 12:03 | | |
London stocks had slipped into the red by midday while the pound lost ground following the release of disappointing UK retail sales figures.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.1% to 7,108.98, while the pound was 0.1% weaker against the dollar at 1.2792.
UK retail sales fell in March to record their first quarterly decline since 2013 as the plunging pound sent shop prices soaring, which suggests the consumer spending slowdown is gathering pace and that the Bank of England may not raise interest rates for some time.
Retail sales dropped 1.8% month-on-month in March, worse than the 1.4% the previous month and much worse than the 0.5% fall the market expected.
March sales rose 1.7% on the same month last year, the Office for National Statistics reported, which was well short of the 3.7% year-on-year rise in February and the 3.3% consensus forecast.
For the first three months of the year, retail sales fell 1.4% compared with the first quarter last year, the third consecutive month this measure has declined.
Excluding automotive fuel, sales were down 1.5% m-o-m and up 1.7% year-on-year, again both much worse than predicted.
A cause of the slowdown is that the effects of sterling’s Brexit-related slump has lifted the retail sales deflator to 3.3% -- its equal-highest since 2012.
IG analyst Joshua Mahony said: “It is worthwhile noting that while the month-on-month retail sales figures are typically volatile, the annual figure highlights that we are seeing a consistent weakness in spending which will undermine UK retail businesses should it persist.”
Meanwhile, investors were also digesting events in Paris late on Thursday after a police officer was killed and two others injured in a shooting on the Champs-Élysées that was later claimed by so-called Islamic State. It transpired that the gunman – who was shot dead as he tried to flee the scene - had been under preliminary investigation for terrorism but had been let go due to a lack of evidence.
The shooting came just three days before the first round of presidential elections.
In corporate news, consumer products group Reckitt Benckiser declined after it reported flat sales for the first quarter.
Property developer Hammerson ticked lower as it secured a £360m loan at an initial margin of 90 basis points from a syndicate of fourteen banks in a bid to reduce its debt.
Restaurant Group was under pressure after its finance chief left following less than a year at the company.
On the upside, rail, telecoms and defence engineer WS Atkins rallied after agreeing late on Thursday to be taken over by Canada's SNC-Lavalin for £2.1bn.
Sports direct edged up after receiving approval to go ahead with the $101m acquisition of Bob’s Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports in the US.
Marks & Spencer was lifted as Barclays initiated coverage of the stock at ‘overweight’,while TalkTalk and Domino’s Pizza were boosted by upgrades from HSBC and Peel Hunt, respectively.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 900.50p 2.33%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 840.00p 1.69%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 359.40p 1.61%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,152.00p 1.36%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,960.00p 1.24%
3i Group (III) 782.00p 1.10%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,100.50p 1.06%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,031.00p 1.04%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,215.00p 1.00%
Croda International (CRDA) 3,551.00p 0.97%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,163.00p -1.54%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,570.00p -1.38%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 239.20p -1.32%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,467.00p -1.24%
Centrica (CNA) 203.70p -1.21%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,539.00p -1.21%
Unilever (ULVR) 3,904.00p -1.16%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 539.50p -1.10%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,315.00p -1.07%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,828.00p -0.92%
FTSE 250 - Risers
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 198.50p 5.03%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 2,081.00p 4.99%
Hastings Group Holdings (HSTG) 290.90p 3.49%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 707.00p 2.39%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 309.50p 2.25%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 150.70p 2.17%
BGEO Group (BGEO) 3,509.00p 1.74%
Aldermore Group (ALD) 234.80p 1.60%
esure Group (ESUR) 243.40p 1.59%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 930.00p 1.58%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Restaurant Group (RTN) 356.10p -2.55%
Allied Minds (ALM) 160.70p -2.43%
Essentra (ESNT) 520.50p -2.25%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 459.10p -2.11%
Sanne Group (SNN) 674.50p -2.10%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 197.00p -2.04%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 308.60p -2.03%
IP Group (IPO) 137.20p -1.79%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,751.00p -1.74%
SSP Group (SSPG) 432.50p -1.70%
Wall Street finished mixed amid light volumes on Monday, as investors kept their wallets closed as both international tensions and domestic political turbulence put a dampener on sentiment.
Stocks finished the day lower amid aggressive rhetoric out of North Korea as the US and South Korean militaries kicked-off their annual 10-day joint exercises and a bounce in the single currency's value.
London stocks ended on a mixed note at the start of the week as investors remained cautious amid geopolitical tensions.
Wall Street was trading in mixed fashion ahead of a speech from the US president on Monday evening in which he was expected to outline his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan.
The UK's public deficit gets its monthly update on Tuesday, along with the CBI's industrial trends survey and results from the likes of BHP Billiton, Cairn Energy, Persimmon and Wood Group.
Graphene--based products producer and supplier Directa Plus announced the appointment of Luca Provolo as its head of sales on Monday, with effect from 4 September.
Clean technology company Verditek announced on Monday that its 51% owned subsidiary Greenflex Energy - an Italian based manufacturing solar photovoltaic technology company - has won an initial trial contract with Media One - one of Italy's largest out of home advertising agencies - to supply and install its proprietary solar PV technology to power digital advertising billboards at outdoor bus shelters in Italy.
London's FTSE 250 was up 0.1% to 19,636.29 in afternoon trade.
Energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power noted the launch of the UK Government's ‘Hydrogen for Transport Programme’ on Monday.
International esports group Gfinity announced on Monday that it has been appointed as esports partner for Formula 1, to deliver the Formula 1 ESports Series from September.