Michele Maatouk Sharecast | 12 Oct, 2017 08:59 - Updated: 09:20 | | |
London stocks were little changed in early trade on Thursday despite a solid session in the US, as investors digested the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting.
At 0835 BST, the FTSE 100 was flat at 7,536.68, while the pound was up 0.1% against the euro at 1.1160 and 0.2% firmer versus the dollar at 1.3244.
Minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's September meeting showed the central bank was confident that the US economy was now resilient enough to withstand an increase in interest rates before the end of the year.
“Consistent with the expectation that a gradual rise in the federal funds rate would be appropriate, many participants thought that another increase in the target range later this year was likely to be warranted if the medium-term outlook remained broadly unchanged,” the minutes read.
Accendo Markets analyst Mike van Dulken attributed the flat London open to "confusion" among Fed voting members about persistently low inflation in spite of low unemployment, which he said "has muddied the outlook about the pace of further hikes".
On the corporate front, broadcaster Sky was trading a little higher after it posted a jump in earnings and revenue in the first quarter, while Just Eat surged after being given provisional approval by UK competition authorities to complete its acquisition of rival online food ordering website Hungryhouse.
Analysts' opinions were providing a lot of the price action, with Burberry the standout gainer after Mirabaud Securities upgraded the stock to 'buy', while budget carrier easyJet flew higher after Canaccord upped the stock to 'hold'.
Spire Healthcare was on the front foot after being upgraded to 'buy' at Investec, but shares in the AA were hit by a downgrade to 'hold' at Berenberg.
Tullow Oil edged up after announcing the acquisition of 90% stakes in four onshore blocks in Côte d'Ivoire, while recruiter Hays advanced after it posted another record quarterly net fee performance as all its divisions saw solid growth.
GVC Holdings gained after the sports betting and gaming group said daily net gaming revenue was up 10%, or 13% at constant currency in the third quarter, while Booker nudged up after posting an 8.6% increase in first-half pre-tax profit.
Clothing retailer N Brown was in the red despite reporting a 5.6% increase in half-year revenue and consensus-beating profits, while WH Smith fell even as it said full-year profit and revenue rose thanks to a solid performance from its travel business, which helped to offset weakness in high street stores.
Acacia Mining was weaker after it revealed that gold production slowed in the third quarter.
HSBC, Tesco, Close Brothers, TP ICAP and Saga were all lower as their stock went ex-dividend.
Investors were also mulling over the latest survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which showed the UK housing market continued to lack momentum in September as demand from new buyers and sales fell again and the shift in interest rate expectations contributed caution in a slowing market.
Still to come, the Bank of England credit conditions survey is at 0930 BST.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,897.00p 2.71%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,149.00p 1.68%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,309.00p 1.55%
SSE (SSE) 1,391.00p 1.24%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,460.00p 1.11%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,104.00p 0.94%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,953.00p 0.85%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 867.00p 0.81%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 688.50p 0.73%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,008.00p 0.70%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 749.10p -1.23%
Tesco (TSCO) 185.60p -0.85%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,911.00p -0.78%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 759.20p -0.76%
Kingfisher (KGF) 303.30p -0.75%
WPP (WPP) 1,362.00p -0.73%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,810.00p -0.65%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,761.00p -0.61%
Worldpay Group (WPG) 411.40p -0.41%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 5,127.00p -0.41%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Just Eat (JE.) 753.00p 7.11%
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 234.00p 5.64%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 883.50p 1.84%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 485.30p 1.72%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 409.80p 1.71%
Aldermore Group (ALD) 249.60p 1.50%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 564.00p 1.08%
Capita (CPI) 550.00p 1.01%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 218.90p 0.92%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 239.30p 0.89%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
AA (AA.) 151.60p -3.99%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 1,434.00p -2.52%
WH Smith (SMWH) 2,024.00p -2.27%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 594.50p -2.06%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 186.00p -2.05%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 343.00p -2.00%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 529.00p -1.49%
Card Factory (CARD) 310.50p -1.43%
Saga (SAGA) 190.90p -1.19%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,745.00p -0.97%
Despite Cobham share's outperformance over the past six months, Berenberg cautioned clients about the near-term strength of various of the firm's end-markets, alongside operational challenges that would require time to resolve and, for a time, scupper hopes that the dividend would be reinstated.
Octagonal updated the market on its trading on Friday, based on the unaudited interim figures for the six months to 30 September for its wholly-owned subsidiary, Global Investment Strategy UK, saying it was “extremely pleased” with the record revenues and profits achieved.
Support services group Marlowe updated the market on its trading for the six months to 30 September on Friday, saying trading in the first six months of the financial year was in line with board expectations.
Ncondezi Energy announced on Friday that it has agreed - in principle - to the terms of a non-binding offer with China Machinery Engineering Corporation and General Electric South Africa to enter into exclusive negotiations to develop, construct and operate the integrated Ncondezi 300MW coal-fired power project and open pit coal mine in Tete, Mozambique.
Analysts at Barclays Research believe Virgin Money's growth prospects are not reflected in the share price.
Lithium exploration and development company Bacanora Minerals announced on Friday that the environmental impact statement - the ‘manifestacion de impacto ambiental’ (MIA) - for its flagship Sonora Project in Mexico has been approved by SEMARNAT, the Environment Ministry of Mexico.
Elektron Technology confirmed it has completed the sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary Sheen Instruments on Friday, to Industrial Physics.
DX Group reported preliminary results for the year on Friday, with revenue rising to £291.9m from £287.9m a year earlier, although EBITDA fell to £7.2m from £18m.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum, an independent operator and producer in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, confirmed on Friday that operations continued safely and securely despite political instability in the surrounding region, with average production of 34,525 barrels of oil equivalent per day from the Shaikan oil field since the start of October.
Existing home sales in the States broke a three-month streak of consecutive declines but were nevertheless labelled "meagre" by some observers, who warned that a lack of supply and fast price increases were putting a crimp in buyers' budgets.