Michele Maatouk Sharecast | 14 Sep, 2017 08:50 - Updated: 08:50 | | |
London stocks edged lower in early trade on Thursday as investors sifted through corporate news and awaited the latest policy announcement from the Bank of England.
At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.2% to 7,368.92, while the pound was flat against the euro at 1.1114 and 0.1% firmer versus the dollar at 1.3221.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "A week of chewy UK data culminates in Thursday’s Bank of England meeting, with the central bank stuck between an inflation rock and a stagnant wage growth hard place.
"Wednesday’s worse than forecast average earnings index figure - which came in at just 2.1%, far lower than the 2.6% and 2.9% inflation readings in July and August respectively - likely puts the kibosh on any BoE rate hike this month. However, investors are still interested in hearing any hints as to what exactly it will take to push Mark Carney and Co to act. Along those lines, whether anyone joins Michael Saunders and Ian McCafferty on the hawkish side of the divide could be the biggest talking point coming out of the meeting, especially if that person if chief economist Andy Haldane."
The BoE interest rate decision is at 1200 BST.
On the corporate front, AstraZeneca fell after announcing an agreement with Aspen Global Incorporated - part of the Aspen Group - under which AGI will now acquire the residual rights to a portfolio of established anaesthetic medicines outside the US.
JD Sports was trading lower after agreeing to combine its existing business in Iberia with the Sport Zone business, while Thomas Cook slipped after announcing a strategic tie-up with Expedia.
Spire Healthcare tumbled as it reported a 75% drop in first-half profit after tax and revised its outlook for the year.
Provident Financial was lower after being downgraded by RBC Capital Markets to 'underperform'.
Ex-dividend stocks on Thursday included 888, BBA Aviation, Computacenter, Derwent London, Equiniti, Inmarsat. RPS Group, Restaurant Group, Sophos and South32.
On the upside, Next shares surged after the clothing retailer lifted its sales and profit targets for the full year thanks to an upturn in recent months, following a 10% drop in first-half profits.
GKN was on the front foot as it said chief executive Nigel Stein will step down at the end of this year, while finance director Adam Walker will also leave before the end of 2017.
Online gaming software group GVC Holdings rallied as it posted a jump in revenue for the first half, while Safestore advanced as it said revenue grew in the third quarter.
Wholesaler Booker edged up as it reported a 1.3% jump in second-quarter like-for like sales thanks to a solid performance from both the catering and retail sides of the business.
UDG Healthcare brightened up as it acquired US-based MicroMass Communications for up to $75.8m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Next (NXT) 4,784.00p 8.31%
GKN (GKN) 333.90p 2.05%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 330.30p 1.79%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,218.00p 1.33%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 3,185.00p 0.92%
BP (BP.) 456.10p 0.83%
Sage Group (SGE) 707.50p 0.78%
Tesco (TSCO) 183.05p 0.77%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,078.00p 0.74%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,165.00p 0.60%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Provident Financial (PFG) 797.50p -5.73%
Experian (EXPN) 1,487.00p -3.00%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 714.50p -2.72%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 238.40p -2.69%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,559.50p -1.79%
Glencore (GLEN) 357.75p -1.61%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,388.00p -1.46%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,000.00p -1.15%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,333.50p -1.15%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 894.00p -1.00%
FTSE 250 - Risers
GVC Holdings (GVC) 839.00p 4.94%
Rotork (ROR) 245.70p 1.61%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 183.80p 1.55%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,358.00p 1.34%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 363.20p 1.20%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 137.70p 1.18%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,142.00p 1.09%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,463.00p 1.07%
Halfords Group (HFD) 321.90p 0.85%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 412.10p 0.83%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 266.30p -14.07%
Evraz (EVR) 290.50p -6.05%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 301.60p -4.56%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 148.70p -4.06%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 297.20p -3.63%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 746.50p -2.86%
Softcat (SCT) 385.00p -2.56%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 814.50p -2.16%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 632.50p -2.01%
Assura (AGR) 62.15p -1.82%
Stocks finished lower on Thursday, as traders tried to work out the implications of the US central bank's policy announcement on Wednesday, despite a raft of better-than-expected readings on the economy.
Banks lead Europe's main stockmarket indices to modest gains in the wake of the US central bank's policy announcement the night before with global capital markets apparently generally unruffled by the Federal Reserve's indications that it is looking to push ahead with multiple rate increases and balance sheet taper over the medium-term.
London stocks closed marginally lower on Thursday, giving up earlier small gains as investors digested the latest UK borrowing figures and Sterling bounced back.
Capita reported a mixed set of results for the first six months of the year but said underlying profits would "rise modestly" in the second half compared to the first, though some investors and analysts found the numbers rather disappointing and difficult to decode.
Alongside Capita's labyrinthine half-year results that left many investors cold and sent the shares down 11%, the company was also forced to prepare for industrial action after unions voted to strike.
Chevron blew a hole in Transocean's share price on Thursday after cancelling its contract for ultra-deep water drillship Discoverer Clear Leader one year ahead of its scheduled expiry, effective from the following November.
Ahead of the UK Prime Minister's major Brexit speech on Friday, chief European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has warned Theresa May against trying to have her cake and eat it and stressing that if a transition period is requested it will first require a withdrawal agreement.
Stocks are stuck in a bit of a rut as traders try to work out the implications of the US central bank's policy announcement the night before, despite a raft of better-than-expected readings on the economy.
Designer and manufacturer of celebration, gifting, stationery and creative play products IG Design Group announced on Thursday that it has signed a contract to acquire the trade and certain assets of Biscay Greetings, which it described as a “leading” greetings card and paper products business based in Australia.
Theresa May's Big Brexit Speech in Florence may dominate the narrative on Friday, though for traders and investors there's PMI surveys and one from the CBI, with results from Sage and Smiths Group.