London midday: FTSE touch higher ahead of US GDP

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 26 Jan 2023

London midday: FTSE touch higher ahead of US GDP

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were just a touch firmer by midday on Thursday as investors mulled the latest reading on the UK retail sector and eyed the release of US GDP data.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,755.35.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Overall sentiment remains fixated on the path of inflation, and where the Fed will go with interest rate policy.

"All eyes will be on the GDP snapshot, jobs and home sales data out later, indicating whether demand is being squeezed out of the economy and whether more storm clouds are gathering on the horizon."

Fourth-quarter US GDP figures are due out at 1330 GMT.

On home shores, the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed that retail sales fell sharply in January, reversing festive gains.

According to the CBI Distributive Trades Survey, the net sales volumes balance was -23 in January, compared to 11 a month previously. It was the fastest decline since April 2022.

Volumes were also expected to continuing falling into February, although at a slower pace, with a balance of -15.

A net balance is the weighted difference between the percentage of respondents reporting an increase and those reporting a decrease.

Retail sales were seen as broadly typical for the time of year, at -3. But orders placed with suppliers were down sharply in the year to January, at -32 against -21 in December.

Martin Sartorius, principal economist at the CBI, said: "Retailers began the new year with a return to falling sales volumes, as the sector continues to face the twin headwinds of rising costs and squeezed household incomes."

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "Households have started this year in belt-tightening mode, as worries about job losses, higher mortgage rates and another jump in energy prices in April dominate their spending decisions.

"This is a disappointing outcome, given the potential for a partial recovery in January after a combination of snow and strike across both the rail and postal sectors weighed temporarily on spending in December.

"With both sales and margins set to come under pressure over the coming months, 2023 will be a tough year for most retailers."

In equity markets, 3i Group rallied as it hailed a positive third quarter and said it was on track to deliver "another year of good growth".

Prudential was in the black as the insurer and investment manager said it had received approval from Macau to open a branch of its Hong Kong business there.

Equipment rental firm Ashtead rose after well-received results from US peer United Rentals.

Tate & Lyle gained after it backed its full-year guidance as it said third-quarter trading was consistent with the first half.

Intermediate Capital and IG Group also pushed higher after well-received results.

On the downside, Diageo slumped despite saying it had made a good start to the current year, after interim sales fizzed.

Wizz Air fell even as the Hungary-based budget airline said it narrowed losses in the third quarter on the back of fare increases and higher booking volumes. EasyJet was also in the red. Airlines had a strong day on Wednesday after easyJet said it expected to beat full-year profit expectations.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,755.35 0.14%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,892.59 0.45%
techMARK (TASX) 4,439.15 0.34%

FTSE 100 - Risers

3i Group (III) 1,541.00p 5.55%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,256.00p 4.04%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 882.60p 3.37%
Prudential (PRU) 1,378.00p 3.30%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 114.44p 2.43%
Schroders (SDR) 489.30p 2.28%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 164.20p 2.21%
Beazley (BEZ) 660.00p 2.17%
Abrdn (ABDN) 209.50p 2.15%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 51.97p 2.00%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Diageo (DGE) 3,424.00p -6.83%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 233.80p -2.01%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,069.00p -0.83%
Glencore (GLEN) 554.30p -0.75%
Centrica (CNA) 98.26p -0.75%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,807.50p -0.69%
Aviva (AV.) 452.70p -0.66%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,252.00p -0.60%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,916.50p -0.60%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 169.14p -0.34%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,408.00p 8.56%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 765.80p 5.89%
Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust (ORIT) 101.80p 4.52%
Future (FUTR) 1,606.00p 4.22%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 245.00p 4.08%
Molten Ventures (GROW) 376.40p 3.29%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,122.00p 2.94%
OSB Group (OSB) 521.50p 2.56%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 1,174.00p 2.26%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 176.40p 2.26%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,800.00p -7.04%
Pennon Group (PNN) 928.50p -1.90%
Energean (ENOG) 1,226.00p -1.84%
Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Limited (SEQI) 86.10p -1.82%
Ascential (ASCL) 257.40p -1.76%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 37.86p -1.66%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 2,010.00p -1.47%
Premier Foods (PFD) 110.80p -1.42%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 443.40p -1.34%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 218.20p -1.27%


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