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London midday: Stocks push higher as Shell, BP gain ahead of OPEC meeting

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 30 Nov 2023

London midday: Stocks push higher as Shell, BP gain ahead of OPEC meeting

(Sharecast News) - London stocks had pushed higher by midday on Thursday, helped along by a strong showing from oil giants BP and Shell, as investors mulled the latest eurozone inflation data and looked ahead to a key US inflation report.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 7,462.79.

Data released earlier by Eurostat showed that eurozone inflation slowed much more than expected in November, raising hopes that the European Central Bank may move to cut interest rates sooner than predicted.

The annual change in consumer prices slowed to just 2.4% this month, the lowest rate of inflation since January 2021, closing in on the ECB's target for headline inflation of 2%. This was down from 2.9% in October and below the 2.7% expected by economists.

Food inflation fell to 6.9% from 7.4%, services price growth declined to 4.0% from 4.6%, non-energy industrial goods inflation eased to 2.9% from 3.5%, while energy price deflation fell further to -11.5% from -11.2%.

Month-on-month, consumer prices actually declined by 0.5% after increasing 0.1% the month before.

Meanwhile, core annual inflation - which excludes volatile items like food and energy - eased to 3.6% from 4.2% the month before and under the 3.6% rate forecast by analysts.

Still to come, the US PCE for October is scheduled for release at 1330 GMT.

In equity markets, BP and Shell were among the top performers on the FTSE 100 as oil prices gained ahead of the OPEC+ meeting later.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Brent crude is hovering at $83 dollars a barrel, following climbs sparked by anticipation of what the OPEC meeting will bring.

"There is speculation that addition cuts of up to one million barrels a day could be on the cards to help put a floor under crude prices. Saudi Arabia has been pushing for reductions to quotas but has met with some resistance from other members particularly in Africa."

Broker notes were also lending a hand, with NatWest higher an upgrade to 'overweight' at JPMorgan, which added the stock to its top picks portfolio.

B&M European Value Retail was also in the black after an upgrade to 'buy' at Peel Hunt and an initiation of coverage at 'equalweight' by Morgan Stanley.

Metro Bank rallied as it announced plans to axe around 20% of its staff and said it was reviewing its policy of keeping branches open seven days a week as it looks to save around £50m a year.

On the downside, Severn Trent, Bellway and Johnson Matthey fell as they traded without entitlement to the dividend.

Auction Technology slid as it posted a 24% drop in full-year pre-tax profit and revenue missed expectations.

Iconic bootmaker Dr Martens tumbled as it warned on full-year profits, saying the Autumn/Winter season has been hit by warm weather, weaker traffic and softer trading in the US. The company now expects FY24 revenue to decline by high single-digit percentage year-on-year, on a constant currency basis. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are expected to be "moderately" below the bottom end of the range of consensus expectations of between £223.7m and £240m.

Media group Future was under the cosh after a downgrade to 'sell' at Canaccord Genuity.

Mitchells & Butlers also lost ground as the restaurants, pubs and bars group reported a big decline in annual profits on the back of significant cost headwinds and property valuation movements, which outweighed strong sales growth over the year.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,462.79 0.53%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,359.29 -0.59%
techMARK (TASX) 4,084.67 0.18%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,966.00p 3.27%
BP (BP.) 484.70p 2.70%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 289.00p 1.69%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 267.80p 1.67%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,160.00p 1.61%
Shell (SHEL) 2,589.00p 1.39%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 601.80p 1.38%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 649.00p 1.34%
NATWEST GROUP (NWG) 208.90p 1.21%
GSK (GSK) 1,417.60p 1.18%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Severn Trent (SVT) 2,630.00p -3.17%
Entain (ENT) 782.80p -2.17%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,110.50p -1.29%
Fresnillo (FRES) 583.60p -1.15%
3i Group (III) 2,212.00p -0.85%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 110.90p -0.81%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,371.00p -0.71%
Unite Group (UTG) 977.50p -0.51%
Experian (EXPN) 2,904.00p -0.48%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 432.60p -0.46%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Harbour Energy (HBR) 231.40p 3.63%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 185.80p 3.22%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 233.20p 3.00%
Carnival (CCL) 1,055.00p 2.23%
NCC Group (NCC) 122.80p 2.16%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 4,355.00p 2.11%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 648.00p 1.49%
Quilter (QLT) 94.45p 1.45%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 313.20p 1.42%
North Atlantic Smaller Companies Inv Trust (NAS) 3,860.00p 1.31%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Dr. Martens (DOCS) 85.60p -25.44%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 526.00p -16.51%
Future (FUTR) 892.00p -7.08%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 225.60p -6.93%
888 Holdings (DI) (888) 71.95p -5.70%
Digital 9 Infrastructure NPV (DGI9) 32.20p -5.29%
Bellway (BWY) 2,342.00p -5.26%
Me Group International (MEGP) 127.00p -4.94%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,570.00p -4.27%
Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 65.20p -4.26%


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