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London close: Stocks mixed on quiet Friday

By Josh White

Date: Friday 24 Nov 2023

London close: Stocks mixed on quiet Friday

(Sharecast News) - Market performance showed a mixed trend in London today, with movements relatively subdued after the Thanksgiving holiday across the pond.

Equities on Wall Street were set to open for just half a day, after they remained closed on Thursday.

The FTSE 100 edged up 0.06% to 7,488.20 points, while the FTSE 250 dipped 0.12% to settle at 18,458.10.

In currency markets, sterling was last up 0.53% on the dollar, trading at $1.2601, while it rose 0.29% against the euro to change hands at €1.1526.

"Stocks lacked direction in low volume, low volatility trading as US private sector activity expanded marginally and German Ifo business morale improved less-than-expected," said IG senior market analyst Axel Rudolph.

"Indices, except the FTSE 100, rose for a fourth consecutive week despite Europe's economic engine heading towards a double-dip recession as Germany's final third quarter quarter-on-quarter GDP dropped to -0.1% as forecast."

Consumer confidence improves in November

In economic headlines, investors were analysing a survey from GfK which indicated a notable improvement in consumer confidence for November.

The consumer confidence barometer climbed to -24, marking a six-point rebound from the unexpected drop to -30 in October.

That improvement extended to all sub-measures, with the personal financial situation gauge for the next 12 months rising by five points to -3, and expectations for the economic situation in the coming year improving by six points to -26.

Additionally, the main purchase index increased by 10 points to -24, suggesting a more optimistic outlook as the festive season approaches.

"Recent ups and downs in confidence have underlined the nation's topsy-turvy economic mood, as encouraging news about falling inflation and wage growth is offset by high personal taxation, alongside costly fuel and energy bills," said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK.

"The dramatic 10-point jump in our major purchase sub-measure, reversing some of the worrying 14-point drop we saw last month, will be good news for retailers looking to benefit from Black Friday and Christmas.

"Despite the acute cost of living pressures, many would still like to loosen their purse strings just a little so they can enjoy that feel-good factor we all associate with the festive season."

However, the German economy faced a slight contraction in the third quarter, according to Destatis.

GDP shrank by 0.1% compared to the previous quarter, following a 0.1% increase in the second quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, GDP declined by 0.4% in the third quarter, indicating some challenges in the German economic landscape.

On a more positive note, German business sentiment improved in November, although it fell slightly short of expectations, according to a survey conducted by the Ifo Institute.

The business climate index rose to 87.3 from October's 86.9, just below the consensus expectation of 87.5.

That marked the third consecutive monthly increase.

The expectations index also saw an uptick, reaching 85.2 in November from 84.8 the previous month, while the current assessment gauge inched up to 89.4 from 89.2.

Those improvements suggest a gradual recovery in business sentiment, albeit at a slightly slower pace than anticipated.

Barclays rises, Entertain in the red on court settlement

On London's equity markets, Barclays was up 1.14% following a Reuters report indicating the bank's intention to achieve cost savings of up to £1 billion.

The cost-cutting initiative could lead to around 2,000 job losses within the organisation.

Legal & General Group added 0.79% after announcing a full buy-in of the Boots pension scheme for £4.8 billion.

The transaction secures the retirement benefits of all 53,000 retirees and deferred members, marking the UK's largest single transaction of its kind in terms of premium size and the largest for Legal & General in terms of the number of members involved.

Vodafone Group closed 1.24% higher following reports that Italian telecom operator Fastweb was exploring the possibility of acquiring Vodafone's Italian operations.

On the downside, JTC slipped 0.73% after the company announced its acquisition of Blackheath, a UK-based boutique asset management business, for an undisclosed sum.

Sage Group lost 2.34% after it received a downgrade from 'hold' to 'sell' by Canaccord Genuity.

Entain was 0.62% weaker after agreeing to a settlement with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), amounting to £585m.

The settlement would resolve a bribery investigation related to its former Turkish business.

Mitie Group tumbled 6.95%, despite having reported a "good" first-half performance earlier in the week, which initially drove its stock price higher.

Johnson Matthey was 1.93% lower after a previous rally earlier in the week.

The company had raised its outlook for full-year underlying operating performance, despite reporting a decrease in first-half sales and profit attributed to lower precious metal market prices.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,488.20 0.06%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,458.10 -0.12%
techMARK (TASX) 4,121.36 -0.13%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Kingfisher (KGF) 219.00p 2.05%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 571.00p 2.00%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 545.20p 1.68%
Tesco (TSCO) 283.80p 1.36%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 709.20p 1.31%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 71.74p 1.23%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,870.50p 1.00%
Barclays (BARC) 141.64p 1.00%
3i Group (III) 2,179.00p 0.88%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,108.50p 0.86%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Sage Group (SGE) 1,104.00p -2.34%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 713.00p -1.46%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,620.00p -1.41%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,664.00p -1.19%
Compass Group (CPG) 2,070.00p -1.00%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 626.00p -0.92%
F&C Investment Trust (FCIT) 895.00p -0.89%
SEGRO (SGRO) 808.80p -0.76%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,024.50p -0.73%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,216.50p -0.67%

FTSE 250 - Risers

IP Group (IPO) 53.10p 3.11%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 138.60p 2.51%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 120.00p 2.39%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 84.15p 1.88%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 255.00p 1.80%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 218.20p 1.77%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 370.00p 1.54%
Breedon Group (BREE) 346.00p 1.47%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 4,415.00p 1.26%
Pennon Group (PNN) 767.00p 1.19%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Mitie Group (MTO) 97.20p -7.43%
Ithaca Energy (ITH) 159.20p -4.33%
888 Holdings (DI) (888) 80.25p -3.43%
Indivior (INDV) 1,308.00p -3.11%
Trainline (TRN) 290.00p -2.23%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 556.00p -1.94%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 108.50p -1.81%
CAB Payments Holdings (CABP) 61.15p -1.72%
Hammerson (HMSO) 26.44p -1.64%
Schroder Asia Pacific Fund (SDP) 485.00p -1.62%

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