London midday: Stocks a touch firmer as miners, Unilever rally

by | Jul 25, 2023

(Sharecast News) – London stocks were still a touch firmer by midday Tuesday, with miners on the front foot, and consumer goods giant Unilever boosted by well-received second-quarter results.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,684.52.

Investors were eyeing the start of the US Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, as well as results from across the pond from the likes of Microsoft and Alphabet.

On home turf, a survey released earlier by the Confederation of British Industry showed that sentiment among manufacturers improved for the first time in two years in July.

The CBI’s monthly balance of new orders rose to -9 from -15 in June, coming in ahead of consensus expectations of -18.

CBI lead economist Ben Jones said: “While there are reasons for optimism among manufacturers this quarter, the overall picture is still subdued. Output has stopped falling, supply chains continue to recover and concerns over labour shortages have eased a little. But cost pressures remain acute and there are worrying signs that a squeeze on margins and higher finance costs are now hitting investment plans.

“In a challenging environment for manufacturing investment, confidence-building measures have a big role to play, whether that’s scaling up Made Smarter into a national programme or providing clearer signals of intent over the UK’s response to the US Inflation Reduction Act and the EU’s Green Industrial Plan.”

In equity markets, heavily-weighted mining stocks were the top performers, with Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Glencore all up as base metals prices rose after Chinese leaders pledged more economic support on Monday.

Steve Clayton, head of equity funds at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Chinese stocks rose by 2% overnight, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 4% after traders became optimistic that Beijing will take steps to boost the flagging Chinese economy.

“A key session in the Politburo saw Chinese leaders flagging that more would be done to support the economy, leading to property and technology sectors racing ahead.”

Unilever surged to the top of the FTSE 100 after saying it had delivered a 3.3% rise in interim earnings, driven by higher prices, although it expects underlying price growth to moderate through the year. Underlying operating profit came in at €5.2bn as underlying sales grew 9.1% to €30.4bn.

Croda followed close behind after half-year results, while Tyman and recruiter SThree also rallied on the back of results.

On the downside, catering company Compass fell even as it backed its full-year outlook and posted an increase in third-quarter organic revenue.

Auto Trader was knocked lower by a downgrade to ‘underweight’ from ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan, which pointed to easing momentum in the core business and an unattractive valuation.

Bridgepoint was also in the red after results.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,684.52 0.08%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,108.68 -0.19%
techMARK (TASX) 4,436.92 -0.56%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Unilever (ULVR) 4,209.50p 4.75%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,624.00p 4.47%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,489.50p 4.14%
Prudential (PRU) 1,091.50p 3.61%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,356.00p 3.46%
Croda International (CRDA) 5,856.00p 3.43%
Beazley (BEZ) 567.50p 1.70%
Glencore (GLEN) 486.35p 1.61%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 297.90p 1.57%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,322.50p 1.30%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Compass Group (CPG) 2,029.00p -4.56%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 626.20p -3.66%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 14,910.00p -2.45%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 108.50p -1.81%
Centrica (CNA) 123.85p -1.67%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 773.00p -1.53%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,060.00p -1.48%
National Grid (NG.) 1,045.00p -1.42%
BAE Systems (BA.) 908.20p -1.24%
Next (NXT) 7,070.00p -1.12%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Tyman (TYMN) 301.00p 5.61%
Synthomer (SYNT) 84.80p 3.35%
SThree (STEM) 360.00p 3.15%
W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 97.60p 2.74%
IP Group (IPO) 60.70p 2.36%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 217.00p 2.36%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 604.50p 2.28%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 720.00p 1.98%
Ninety One (N91) 171.80p 1.90%
Hill and Smith (HILS) 1,580.00p 1.67%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 200.60p -5.02%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 262.60p -4.92%
BH Macro Ltd. GBP Shares (BHMG) 357.00p -3.51%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 209.60p -3.41%
BlackRock Greater Europe Inv Trust (BRGE) 531.00p -2.93%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 92.55p -2.58%
Target Healthcare Reit Ltd (THRL) 74.50p -2.49%
NB Private Equity Partners Ltd. (NBPE) 1,540.00p -2.28%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 704.00p -2.22%
Warehouse Reit (WHR) 86.50p -2.15%

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