Portfolio

London close: UK stocks subdued on US Thanksgiving as resources in focus

By Andrew Schonberg

Date: Thursday 24 Nov 2016

London close: UK stocks subdued on US Thanksgiving as resources in focus

(ShareCast News) - UK stocks were in cautious form all day Thursday, with global markets generally subdued as traders in the US put their feet up for a Thanksgiving break.
The FTSE 100 closed up 0.17% to 6,829.20. The FTSE 250 ended the session down 0.18% to 17,590.62.

On the blue-chip upside, several mining and pharma stocks featured, while to the downside the story was written around US rates-sensitive utilities, banks and property.

Oil majors were broadly flat, with investors looking to OPEC's meeting on 30 November in Vienna with a hope the cartel will introduce a production cap. This saw crude trade sideways.

At about 16:28 GMT, West Texas Intermediate was up 0.06% to $47.99 a barrel, while Brent was up 0.02% to $48.96 a barrel.

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said the thinner trading volumes on Thanksgiving meant there was minimal movement across European stock markets.

"UK equities under-performed those in mainland Europe, which were slightly higher as German GDP data fell in the third quarter in line with expectations," he said.

Lawler added that there were some some signs European institutions were waking up to rising populism in their midst.

"The ECB used its Financial Stability Review to issue a warning on increasing political uncertainty," he said, noting the FTSE 100 was stuttering around the 6800 level.

Meantime, lawmakers in the European Parliament have voted to adopt a non-binding motion to freeze Turkey's accession to the EU, after a government crackdown on dissent following the failed coup in the country earlier this year.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, opined that the FTSE was in a holding pattern throughout Thursday, this due to the absence of cue from the US.

"Strength in metals prices has once again done wonders for the mining sector, with copper having staged a remarkable rebound from an equally remarkable selloff earlier in November," he said.

"The entire afternoon has had a sense of children playing about without adult supervision, with this especially clear in currency markets."

In corporate news, Legal & General firmed on the sale of its Netherlands business to London-listed pensions firm Chesnara for €160m.

Water company Severn Trent rose as it posted a 10.8% jump in interim profits before interest and tax to £299.4m.

Rio Tinto nudged up after chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said the mining giant can boost cash flow by $5m over the next five years by a new "productivity drive".

Shares in Domino's Pizza advanced after it increased its long-term target for expanding its UK store presence and reiterated its guidance for 2016 pre-tax profit.

Pub-operator Marston's advanced as it said pre-tax profit and revenue for the year to 1 October grew.

On the downside, Countrywide tumbled as it issued its second profit warning this year, saying core earnings for 2016 would take a hit as a result of the UK's vote to quit the EU. The stock fell sharply Wednesday after the Autumn Statement clampdown on estate agent lettings fees.

Pets at Home fell despite reporting a rise in first-half pre-tax profit and revenues and lifting its interim dividend.

HSS Hire was sharply lower as it said it now expects earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation for the year to be above the prior year but below market views.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,829.20 0.17%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,590.62 -0.18%
techMARK (TASX) 3,294.36 0.52%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 358.30p 2.84%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 720.00p 2.57%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,496.00p 2.47%
CRH (CRH) 2,706.00p 2.15%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 3,308.00p 1.78%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 437.90p 1.77%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,254.00p 1.33%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 3,221.00p 1.29%
Polymetal International (POLY) 750.50p 1.28%
3i Group (III) 674.00p 1.28%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

National Grid (NG.) 909.90p -2.34%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,022.00p -2.29%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 440.50p -2.24%
DCC (DCC) 6,200.00p -1.98%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,401.00p -1.62%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 943.50p -1.31%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,185.00p -1.21%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 724.00p -1.16%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,209.00p -1.07%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,729.00p -0.97%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 340.50p 3.21%
Cobham (COB) 168.00p 3.19%
Mitie Group (MTO) 207.90p 3.18%
Marshalls (MSLH) 298.00p 2.87%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 80.90p 2.41%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 430.00p 2.14%
ICAP (IAP) 490.50p 2.02%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 5,850.00p 1.83%
Halma (HLMA) 973.50p 1.78%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 665.00p 1.76%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Countrywide (CWD) 169.50p -12.58%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 614.50p -6.68%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 346.50p -6.48%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 222.70p -4.71%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,014.00p -4.38%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 155.40p -4.07%
Evraz (EVR) 259.60p -4.06%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 246.10p -3.98%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 343.60p -3.94%
FirstGroup (FGP) 102.90p -3.74%

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