London midday: Stocks trade mixed with central bank meetings on the horizon

by | Jul 21, 2023

(Sharecast News) – Stocks were still trading on a mixed note come midday despite Wall Street looking primed for a modest bounce at the opening bell.

Nonetheless, at least one distinguished ‘bear’, BofA Securities’ strategist Michael Hartnett, appeared to retain his downside bias.

In a research note sent to clients, Hartnett noted record selling of U.S. Treasury bills by the lender’s private clients.

That, he said, was ‘contrarian bearish’, much like the risk-off record weekly inflow into T-bills that had been recorded last March.

As of 1200 BST, the FTSE 100 was holding 0.10% higher at 7,654.04 while the second-tier index was off by 0.22% to 19,268.13.

Sterling was marginally lower, by 0.16% to 1.2847.

Weekly jobless data released the day before in the US had led to some ‘market chatter’ regarding the risk of more interest rate hikes than anticipated.

And rate-setters at the Bank of Japan, European Central Bank and Federal Reserve were all due to announce their latest – and potentially key – policy decisions over the following week.

China’s Politburo was also expected by some to announce fresh policy stimulus on 28-30 July, although the extent of the same remained a matter of conjecture.

The latest economic data out on home shores came in mixed.

According to the National Office for Statistics, UK retail sales jumped in June at a month-on-month of 0.7% (consensus: 0.2%).

Non-food store sales did especially well, rising by 1.0% over the month thanks to higher than average temperatures.

Retail sales remained 1.0% below their pre-Covid level, but that was the smallest shortfall since September, said Gabriella Dickens, senior U.K. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

However, consultancy GfK’s consumer confidence index slumped from a June reading of -25 to -30 in July (consensus: -25).

Public sector net borrowing printed at £18.5bn for June (consensus: £22.0bn).

But Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon, said: “Good news on recent levels of public borrowing will not be celebrated much at the Treasury, given that the outlook for debt interest payments has deteriorated substantially since the Budget.”

HSBC in the market spotlight

HSBC was the focus of some ‘market chatter’ at the end of the week on the back of the shares’ rise to four-year highs.

Liontrust Asset Management said that its its proposed offer for Swiss rival GAM was “full and final”. The UK asset manager that its offer “good and fair”, taking into account the current financial run rate of losses, future contractual liabilities and the restructuring costs needed to bring GAM back into the black.

Glencore reported a 4% decrease in own-sourced copper production in its first half on Friday, mainly due to mining sequences at Collahuasi and Antamina, and lower copper by-products outside the copper department. The FTSE 100 firm said cobalt production increased 5%, while nickel production saw a 20% decline. Ferrochrome production was 9% below the first half of 2022 due to planned smelter offline days, and coal production remained steady. Glencore maintained its full-year production guidance.

FirstGroup said in an update on Friday that its trading performance for the financial year-to-date was in line with the expectations it outlined in June. The FTSE 250 passenger transport operator also said it had completed £70.9m of its £75m on-market share buyback programme, launched last December, adding that on completion, it planned to initiate another buyback of up to £115m of shares, subject to approval at its annual general meeting being held later in the day.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,653.35 0.10%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,275.06 -0.19%
techMARK (TASX) 4,464.81 -0.10%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,594.00p 1.71%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 923.40p 1.47%
Centrica (CNA) 127.45p 1.43%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,618.00p 1.12%
3i Group (III) 1,968.50p 0.95%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 156.10p 0.90%
BP (BP.) 476.10p 0.82%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 635.40p 0.76%
Relx plc (REL) 2,598.00p 0.74%
Informa (INF) 753.20p 0.70%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Mondi (MNDI) 1,304.00p -1.99%
Prudential (PRU) 1,055.50p -1.86%
Fresnillo (FRES) 616.20p -1.44%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,928.00p -1.41%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 15,210.00p -1.36%
BT Group (BT.A) 124.30p -1.19%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,924.00p -0.98%
Croda International (CRDA) 5,686.00p -0.91%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 8,348.00p -0.88%
Rightmove (RMV) 551.60p -0.83%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Babcock International Group (BAB) 374.00p 3.43%
Energean (ENOG) 1,136.00p 2.34%
Ithaca Energy (ITH) 153.30p 2.20%
FirstGroup (FGP) 147.90p 1.79%
Supermarket Income Reit (SUPR) 79.80p 1.79%
easyJet (EZJ) 482.50p 1.45%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,671.00p 1.44%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 212.00p 1.44%
Ascential (ASCL) 213.00p 1.43%
Molten Ventures (GROW) 268.40p 1.36%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Trainline (TRN) 271.80p -2.93%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 891.40p -2.54%
Ninety One (N91) 167.30p -2.05%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 719.00p -2.04%
Volution Group (FAN) 393.80p -2.04%
GCP Infrastructure Investments Ltd (GCP) 80.90p -1.94%
North Atlantic Smaller Companies Inv Trust (NAS) 3,800.00p -1.81%
Schroder Oriental Income Fund Ltd. (SOI) 248.00p -1.78%
International Distributions Services (IDS) 267.70p -1.73%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,309.00p -1.50%

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