London close: Stocks end mixed ahead of Jackson Hole

by | Aug 24, 2023

(Sharecast News) – London’s stock markets closed with a mixed performance on Thursday as investors digested the most recent retail sales data, and turned their attention to the start of the Jackson Hole symposium across the pond.

The FTSE 100 managed a modest gain of 0.18% to 7,333.63 points, while the FTSE 250 retreated 0.18% to 18,194.57.

In currencies, sterling was last down 0.78% on the dollar to trade at $1.2628, while it dropped 0.39% against the euro to change hands at €1.1668.

“Thursday’s rally in European and US stock indices, on the back of much-better-than expected Nvidia second-quarter results, ran out of puff as investors took money off the table ahead of Jerome Powell’s Jackson Hole speech on Friday,” said IG senior market analyst Axel Rudolph.

“In it, the Fed chair is expected to disappoint investors looking for reassurance that U.S. rates have peaked.

“UK retail sales falling the most in two years and US durable goods orders the most in over three years also put a dampener on stocks.”

UK retail sales see significant drop as US jobless claims show encouraging signs

In economic news, the UK retail sector experienced a substantial decline in sales in August, marking the most rapid decrease seen in more than two and a half years.

The decline was attributed to the ongoing cost of living crisis plaguing many households.

According to the Confederation of British Industry, the monthly balance of retail sales fell to -44 in the year to August from -25 in July.

Expectations for the month ahead improved to -21 from -32.

Retailers meanwhile expected to reduce investment in the next 12 months, compared to the last 12, but to a lesser extent than in May, with a balance of -25% from -43%.

“Against a backdrop of rising interest rates and weak demand, retailers foresee cuts to investment over the next year, while employment is expected to fall again next month,” CBI economist Martin Sartorius said.

Across the Atlantic, the US economy showed signs of resilience, with the Labor Department reporting a positive trend in employment.

The count of Americans seeking unemployment benefits decreased to its most favourable level in three weeks, with a reduction of 10,000 claims bringing the figure down to 230,000, surpassing analysts’ expectations for 240,000.

It came in light of a slight revision to the prior week’s claims, which increased by 1,000 to settle at 240,000.

The four-week moving average, which attempts to minimise volatile weekly changes, recorded a level of 236,750, indicating a marginal increase of 2,250 from the prior week, after an upward revision by 250.

Mixed fortunes for equities as markets react to a range of catalysts

On London’s equity markets, Liontrust Asset Management surged 14.18% on its failed takeover bid for GAM, as it became apparent that Liontrust could not secure the necessary support from its shareholders for the deal.

Hays experienced a modest rise of 0.29%, after the recruitment firm declared an increased full-year dividend, coupled with a special payout for shareholders.

However, the positive news was somewhat tempered by Hays presenting a bleak outlook and disclosing a decrease in annual profits.

JD Sports Fashion climbed 4.43%, having experienced a downturn earlier in the week following cautionary remarks from its US peers Foot Locker and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

On the downside, Intertek suffered a minor drop of 0.54%, despite initially enjoying some gains and announcing the acquisition of US-based PlayerLync Holdings for an undisclosed amount.

Harbour Energy dipped -3.73% after the North Sea-based oil and gas producer revised down its annual production and capital expenditure forecasts, attributing those to drilling hold-ups at its Beryl operations.

Moreover, a significant fall in its half-year pre-tax profit, dropping to $429m from $1.49bn the previous year, added to its woes.

The decrease was primarily due to heightened taxes after a windfall levy on energy corporations by the government.

Building materials specialist CRH fell 1.51% on its half-year results announcement.

Several companies, including Aviva, Legal & General Group, Hammerson, Ibstock, St James’s Place, Auto Trader Group, Shaftesbury Capital, and OSB Group, were in the red as they traded ex-dividend.

Reporting by Josh White for

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,333.63 0.18%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,194.57 -0.18%
techMARK (TASX) 4,229.03 -0.10%

FTSE 100 – Risers

JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 139.90p 5.07%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 750.60p 1.76%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 229.80p 1.68%
Croda International (CRDA) 5,390.00p 1.66%
Fresnillo (FRES) 561.40p 1.52%
Halma (HLMA) 2,075.00p 1.42%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 569.60p 1.17%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,374.00p 1.11%
Compass Group (CPG) 2,000.00p 1.09%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,577.00p 1.06%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Aviva (AV.) 370.80p -2.57%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 214.40p -2.55%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,257.00p -1.80%
St James’s Place (STJ) 857.60p -1.76%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,375.00p -1.66%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 587.60p -1.57%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 4,447.00p -1.51%
BT Group (BT.A) 112.60p -1.36%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,408.00p -1.26%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,874.00p -1.21%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 665.50p 10.36%
Molten Ventures (GROW) 242.00p 3.77%
Digital 9 Infrastructure NPV (DGI9) 53.20p 2.90%
TP Icap Group (TCAP) 162.50p 2.52%
Savills (SVS) 894.50p 2.45%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 210.00p 2.44%
Premier Foods (PFD) 121.00p 2.37%
Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Limited (SEQI) 80.20p 2.17%
Victrex plc (VCT) 1,468.00p 2.16%
IWG (IWG) 173.90p 2.11%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 483.20p -5.53%
Ithaca Energy (ITH) 147.40p -4.90%
Capita (CPI) 17.96p -4.52%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,213.00p -4.49%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 230.90p -4.47%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 96.20p -4.28%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 76.65p -4.01%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 320.80p -3.49%
OSB Group (OSB) 349.20p -3.38%
Ibstock (IBST) 144.70p -3.21%

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