London midday: Stocks touch higher ahead of US inflation gauges

by | Jul 28, 2023

(Sharecast News) – London stocks were still a touch higher by midday on Friday as investors mulled a policy shift from the Bank of Japan and results from the likes of NatWest, Standard Chartered and IAG.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,700.64.

Earlier, the BoJ maintained negative interest rates but said it would now allow “greater flexibility” in its target range for 10-year government bond yields.

The country’s strict yield curve control policy would now allow movements of around plus and minus 0.5% without “rigid limits,” the central bank said.

It also offered to buy 10-year bonds at 1% every business day through fixed-rate operations, expanding its tolerance by another 50 basis points. Yields for the bonds stood at 0.539%, their highest level since September 2014.

The BOJ said it will “conduct yield curve control with greater flexibility, regarding the upper and lower bounds the range as references, not as rigid limits, in its market operations”.

Still to come on Thursday, market participants were eyeing the latest US inflation gauges.

Joshua Mahony, chief market analyst at Scope Markets, said: “Today sees the focus turn to US inflation picture, with the Fed’s favoured core PCE price index figure due out alongside personal spending. With the latest GDP and durable goods data highlighting an economy that appears to be in good health, a notable decline in this inflation gauge could further embolden the bulls.”

In UK equity markets, StanChart rallied as it lifted annual guidance and launched a $1bn share buyback after first-half profits rose 20% on the back of soaring interest rates.

British Airways and Iberia owner IAG flew higher as it posted a record first-half profit, hailing a strong performance across the group.

In the six months to 30 June, the company swung to an operating profit before exceptional items of €1.3bn from a loss of €466m in the same period a year earlier. IAG pointed to sustained strong demand across the network, and a particularly strong showing from the Spanish business.

Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca gained sharply as its second-quarter results beat estimates.

NatWest edged up as it reported better-than-expected interim profits only days after it was rocked by the resignation of chief executive Alison Rose over the leaking of details of Nigel Farage. The bank posted pre-tax profit of £3.6bn, up from £2.6bn a year earlier and better than the £3.3bn estimated by analysts. It also announced a £500m share buyback.

On the downside, Vanquis Bank tumbled after interim results, while Darktrace dropped after Summit Partners sold 20.8m shares in the cyber security firm in a placing.

Property portal Rightmove dipped even as it backed full-year expectations as it reported a jump in first-half profit as revenues saw their biggest increase in five years despite a challenging backdrop.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,700.64 0.10%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,139.35 -0.70%
techMARK (TASX) 4,449.10 -0.17%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Standard Chartered (STAN) 743.40p 5.05%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 161.55p 4.23%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 11,114.00p 3.87%
NATWEST GROUP (NWG) 246.60p 2.79%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,390.00p 2.79%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 193.10p 1.93%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 650.30p 1.25%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 115.00p 1.23%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,221.00p 0.97%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 8,538.00p 0.78%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

IMI (IMI) 1,601.00p -2.67%
St James’s Place (STJ) 971.40p -2.09%
Kingfisher (KGF) 247.40p -1.94%
Aviva (AV.) 392.20p -1.80%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,235.00p -1.76%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,383.00p -1.73%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 4,533.00p -1.71%
Informa (INF) 763.60p -1.62%
Entain (ENT) 1,364.50p -1.48%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,215.00p -1.47%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 195.80p 2.57%
Digital 9 Infrastructure NPV (DGI9) 57.70p 2.12%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 227.00p 2.02%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 379.20p 1.88%
Quilter (QLT) 79.70p 1.79%
Redde Northgate (REDD) 343.50p 1.48%
Domino’s Pizza Group (DOM) 349.40p 1.45%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 176.20p 1.29%
Schroder Asia Pacific Fund (SDP) 509.00p 0.99%
Abrdn Private Equity Opportunities Trust (APEO) 444.00p 0.91%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Vanquis Banking Group 20 (VANQ) 123.20p -31.93%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 91.05p -4.21%
Inchcape (INCH) 815.00p -3.78%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 332.20p -3.49%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 103.50p -3.27%
Darktrace (DARK) 378.50p -3.15%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 376.00p -2.64%
Molten Ventures (GROW) 267.40p -2.48%
Tritax Eurobox (GBP) (EBOX) 53.60p -2.37%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 144.60p -2.36%

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