London midday: Shares flat ahead of US jobs data; WPP, Capita slump

by | Aug 4, 2023

(Sharecast News) – London stocks had slipped into the red by midday on Friday as investors waited on the release of the latest monthly non-farm payrolls report in the US.
As of 0848 BST, FTSE 100 was down 0.28% to 7,509.3, while the second-tier 250 index was ahead by 0.10% to 18,852.29

“The most important day of the month is here: the US NFP. This particular data set has the ability to not only dictate the trading tone for the day but also set the momentum for the rest of the month. Given the strong US ADP number, the bar is set high for today’s number to print a strong reading,” said Naeem Aslam, chief investment officer at Zaye Capital Markets.

“And the question for traders and investors is whether a strong number is going to be perceived as good news for the market players or if this number will make traders fear further rate hikes by the Fed, which is in the process of taming inflation.”

At 1330 BST, the US Department of Labor was scheduled to publish the non-farm payrolls report for the month of July. Consensus was for a 175,000 increase in payrolls, although some economists were anticipating a much larger increase.

Leading indicators for the US jobs market had been mixed of later, with some data pointing to near-term strength even as other economic reports appeared to point to further weakness in the pipeline come autumn.

Overnight Chinese officials pledged to support economic growth in the back half of 2023.

Capita in the red during 1H

In equity news, UK government contractor Capita posted a loss for the half-year, including taking a hit of up to £25m from a cyber attack on its computer systems earlier this year. The company made a loss before tax of £67.9m, compared with a profit of £0.1m due to business exits, non-core portfolio goodwill impairment and costs associated with the cyber incident. On an adjusted basis, Capita’s pre-tax profit increased by £8.4m to £33.1m. Turnover rose 3% to £1.47bn.

Advertising giant WPP on Friday cut its like-for-like growth forecast for the full year due as North America revenues fell in the second quarter. The company said it now expected growth of 1.5-3%, downgraded from a previous estimate of 3-5%, driven by lower spending from technology clients. Interim profit before tax fell more than halved to £204m from £419m a year ago. “Our performance in the first half has been resilient with Q2 growth accelerating in all regions except the USA, which was impacted in the second quarter by lower spending from technology clients and some delays in technology-related projects,” said chief executive Mark Read.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,510.97 -0.24%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,852.29 0.10%
techMARK (TASX) 4,347.27 -0.09%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 199.65p 3.88%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 15,075.00p 2.97%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,275.50p 2.41%
St James’s Place (STJ) 885.80p 1.86%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 167.00p 1.40%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,174.00p 1.21%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 523.00p 1.12%
BP (BP.) 482.75p 1.03%
BAE Systems (BA.) 1,009.00p 0.90%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,750.00p 0.88%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

WPP (WPP) 790.60p -6.68%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,093.00p -1.92%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 5,586.00p -1.65%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 10,870.00p -1.63%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 849.40p -1.44%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,218.00p -1.42%
Fresnillo (FRES) 550.40p -1.40%
Croda International (CRDA) 5,648.00p -1.33%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 148.80p -1.26%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 630.80p -1.25%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,395.00p 3.50%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 130.80p 2.99%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,664.00p 2.97%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 2,510.00p 2.87%
Quilter (QLT) 73.60p 2.79%
Senior (SNR) 172.40p 2.74%
Elementis (ELM) 114.60p 2.69%
Energean (ENOG) 1,119.00p 2.47%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 592.00p 2.42%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 147.40p 2.36%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Capita (CPI) 22.80p -15.05%
Vanquis Banking Group 20 (VANQ) 122.20p -4.23%
Future (FUTR) 781.00p -3.70%
NCC Group (NCC) 94.20p -2.18%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 512.00p -2.10%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 137.60p -1.99%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 266.50p -1.84%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 148.05p -1.73%
Abrdn Private Equity Opportunities Trust (APEO) 442.00p -1.67%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 176.95p -1.67%

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