London midday: Stocks gain as UK GDP in focus

By Michele Maatouk

London stocks were still a little firmer by midday on Friday after data showed the UK economy contracted a touch less than expected in the second quarter.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 7,490.50.

Figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed the economy shrank 0.1% in Q2 1% following 0.8% growth in the previous quarter. Analysts had been expecting a 0.2% contraction.

There was a 0.4% decline in services output, with the largest negative contribution from human health and social work activities.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “Health was the biggest reason the economy contracted as both the test and trace and vaccine programmes were wound down, while many retailers also had a tough quarter.

“These were partially offset by growth in hotels, bars, hairdressers and outdoor events across the quarter, partly as a result of people celebrating the Platinum Jubilee.”

Monthly estimates from the ONS showed that GDP fell by 0.6% in June following a downwardly-revised 0.4% increase in May and versus consensus expectations for a 1.2% contraction.

Last week, the Bank of England warned the UK would enter a recession at the end of this year, as it hiked interest rates by the most in 27 years.

Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “Overall, the figures suggest that the risks to our below-consensus forecast of a 0.2% q/q fall in Q3 and a 0.4% q/q drop in Q4 are now on the upside. But the sheer size of the squeeze on real incomes suggests to us that a recession is still on the cards in late 2022 and early 2023.”

In equity markets, bookmaker Flutter surged to the top of the FTSE 100 as it said US revenues were set to be ahead of expectations and that interim pre-tax losses had widened in the first half.

GlaxoSmithKline gained after saying it would that it would “vigorously defend” all claims related to its now-discontinued heartburn drug Zantac. It also said that both the FDA and the European Medicines Agency have concluded there is no evidence of a causal association between ranitidine therapy (marketed as Zantac) and the development of cancer.

Shares in the pharmaceuticals giant had tumbled on Thursday amid worries about upcoming litigation.

Meanwhile, Haleon – GSK’ s consumer health spinoff – also rose following heavy losses a day earlier as it said that it was not a party to any of the claims related to Zantac.

On the downside, 888 tanked after the gambling firm reported a sharp fall in interim profit as the cost-of-living crisis and tougher online gambling safety rules hit the bottom line.

B&Q owner Kingfisher and homeware retailer Dunelm were both under the cosh after rating downgrades at UBS.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,490.50 0.33%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,270.95 0.13%
techMARK (TASX) 4,353.61 0.70%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 10,560.00p 12.56%
GSK (GSK) 1,441.80p 2.99%
Centrica (CNA) 79.68p 2.47%
Entain (ENT) 1,388.00p 2.25%
Barclays (BARC) 172.02p 1.80%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 261.20p 1.79%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,553.50p 1.34%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,689.00p 1.28%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 606.40p 1.17%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 3,238.00p 0.97%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 3,558.00p -2.68%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 8,096.00p -2.48%
Fresnillo (FRES) 735.00p -2.05%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 909.20p -1.88%
Kingfisher (KGF) 251.10p -1.84%
Halma (HLMA) 2,254.00p -1.83%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 129.55p -1.52%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 11,485.00p -1.46%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 675.40p -1.43%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,765.00p -1.40%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Moonpig Group (MOON) 215.20p 4.16%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,604.00p 3.75%
UK Commercial Property Reit Limited (UKCM) 78.10p 3.44%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 152.90p 2.96%
Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 1,790.00p 2.87%
Beazley (BEZ) 600.00p 2.65%
Investec (INVP) 468.00p 2.50%
Greencore Group (CDI) (GNC) 101.10p 2.28%
Darktrace (DARK) 408.70p 2.17%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 276.40p 2.07%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

888 Holdings (DI) (888) 135.70p -15.19%
TP Icap Group (TCAP) 144.90p -3.40%
Genus (GNS) 2,674.00p -3.26%
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs (HVPE) 2,425.00p -2.41%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 118.00p -2.40%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 365.20p -2.35%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 823.50p -2.08%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 152.40p -1.80%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 272.20p -1.80%
ASOS (ASC) 989.50p -1.74%

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