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London midday: Stocks off lows as investors eye US GDP

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 29 Nov 2023

London midday: Stocks off lows as investors eye US GDP

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were just a touch weaker by midday on Wednesday, off earlier lows, as investors mulled a raft of UK data releases and eyed the latest US GDP figures.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.1% at 7,450.95.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Hopes for a softer landing for the mighty US economy are failing to lift overall sentiment in Europe, as investors focus on the risks of sticky inflation.

"Comments from a usually hawkish Fed policymaker that there could be room for cuts to interest rates if the price spiral keeps heading in the right direction look set to push Wall Street higher at the open.

"But the FTSE 100 has opened on the backfoot with little to spark a wave of buying. Central bank policymakers in Europe have been more guarded, with Christine Lagarde of the ECB stressing that wage pressures remain elevated, and Andrew Bailey of the Bank of England warning that higher rates will be needed for a prolonged period."

On home shores, figures from the Bank of England showed that mortgage approvals sparked last month despite borrowing costs continuing to push higher.

According to the Bank's Money and Credit report, gross mortgage lending fell to £16.2bn from £18.1bn in September.

However, net mortgage approvals - an indicator of future borrowing - for house purchases jumped to 47,400 from 43,700 a month previously. Consensus had been for a smaller increase, to 45,300.

The figure remains well below the 2015-2019 average, however, of 66,400.

Net approvals for remortgaging also rose, to 23,700 in October from 20,600 a month earlier.

The effective interest rate, the actual interest paid, on newly drawn mortgages rose 24 basis points to 5.25%.

Wednesday's report also showed that individuals repaid £0.1bn net of mortgage debt in October, in stark contrast to the £1bn repaid in September

Net consumer credit borrowing, meanwhile, fell to £1.3bn in October from £1.4bn, as credit card borrowing eased, by £100m to £0.5bn. Analysts had expected consumer credit borrowing to rise, to £1.5bn.

Borrowing on other forms of credit - such as car finance or personal loans - was unchanged at £0.8bn.

At the same time, households deposited net £4.6bn in banks and building societies, the highest since November 2022. Including National Savings and Investments, total net deposits were £6.8bn, below September's £7.0bn but well above the average monthly net flow of £1.7bn seen in the previous six months.

Still to come, third-quarter US GDP figures are due at 1330 GMT.

In equity markets, Asia-focused banks Standard Chartered and HSBC were among the worst performers on the FTSE 100, while Aviva was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'hold' from 'buy' at Deutsche Bank.

Pennon Group lost ground as it posted a near-60% drop in half-year underlying pre-tax profit.

Halfords tumbled as it narrowed its guidance range for annual profit, highlighting a softening in demand for its big-ticket discretionary categories. It now expects FY24 underlying pre-tax profit of between £48m and £53m, down from previous guidance of £48m to £58m.

On the upside, Ocado jumped as chairman Rick Haythornthwaite bought 9,500 ordinary shares in the company for 561p per share, paying about £53,000.

Precious metals miners Fresnillo and Endeavour shone as gold prices rose.

Spirent Communications shot higher as it signed a $15m agreement with a financial services organisation to automate its lab and testing capabilities.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,450.95 -0.06%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,438.26 0.28%
techMARK (TASX) 4,082.40 -0.06%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 593.40p 4.66%
Fresnillo (FRES) 584.20p 4.51%
Rightmove (RMV) 541.40p 2.62%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 264.00p 2.21%
M&G (MNG) 208.80p 1.95%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,833.00p 1.95%
Diploma (DPLM) 3,366.00p 1.45%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 10,042.00p 1.43%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 629.40p 1.19%
SEGRO (SGRO) 818.20p 1.19%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Entain (ENT) 813.80p -2.47%
Centrica (CNA) 146.05p -2.08%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 648.60p -2.05%
Aviva (AV.) 415.90p -2.05%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 595.50p -1.93%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 434.80p -1.78%
Prudential (PRU) 872.80p -1.42%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,133.00p -1.38%
Beazley (BEZ) 549.00p -1.35%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 69.96p -1.27%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Spirent Communications (SPT) 115.10p 5.79%
NCC Group (NCC) 118.80p 5.13%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 227.50p 4.21%
easyJet (EZJ) 438.50p 4.11%
Ceres Power Holdings (CWR) 190.40p 3.93%
Darktrace (DARK) 351.30p 2.81%
Energean (ENOG) 1,018.00p 2.62%
British Land Company (BLND) 354.60p 2.54%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 562.50p 2.27%
Marshalls (MSLH) 243.40p 2.27%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Digital 9 Infrastructure NPV (DGI9) 34.00p -13.49%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 230.00p -3.12%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 628.00p -3.09%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 310.80p -2.75%
FirstGroup (FGP) 157.90p -2.53%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 122.00p -2.24%
Pennon Group (PNN) 731.00p -2.08%
North Atlantic Smaller Companies Inv Trust (NAS) 3,820.00p -2.05%
Mitie Group (MTO) 100.20p -1.96%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 141.30p -1.88%


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