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London close: Equities trade dulls as geopolitical tensions, Easter suppress interest

By Andrew Schonberg

Date: Wednesday 12 Apr 2017

London close: Equities trade dulls as geopolitical tensions, Easter suppress interest

(ShareCast News) - Equities trade in London became duller as the day progressed with a blend of geopolitical tensions and the upcoming long Easter weekend suppressing interest.
The FTSE 100 ended its day down 0.22% to 7,348.99 and the FTSE 250 finished up 0.61% to 19,423.94. In Europe, the Dax and Cac 40 rose a little. In the US, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost ground.

"The markets only became duller as the day went on, a mixture of global tensions and the impending Easter break suppressing investor interest," said Connor Campbell of Spreadex.

Henry Croft, at Accendo Markets, said the investor trade-off between safe haven assets and riskier equities continued.

"While geopolitical tensions may have come off the boil, markets have not yet discarded the cautious outlook that led to yesterday afternoon's sell off," he said.

US tensions with North Korea and separately Russia, French presidential elections and Brexit continue to dominate the headlines. So, too, does the global glut of crude oil.

Joshua Mahony of IG observed the FTSE had given up its early gains, as the risk-off sentiment surrounding the US foreign policy appears rolls on.

"Rex Tillerson's arrival into Moscow couldn't have come at a more relevant moment, with (Donald) Trump seemingly going head-first into both North Korea and Syria without pausing for breath," said Mahony.

"The deterioration of US-Russia ties has been highlighted by the substantial selling evident through the Russian Micex index over recent months, as the promise of a newly reinforced relationship have been blown away."

Gold, however, was mildly ahead, but copper was down strongly. Three-month industrial metals mostly fell. Crude was mixed after two sets of US data showed a decline in inventories.

"Crude Oil prices continue to rise on optimism that Saudi Arabia will convince other Opec members to extend their production cuts," said Croft.

"However, weaker metals prices on account of slowing Chinese Producer inflation are capping gains for commodities producers."

Returning to the UK, data showed growth in average weekly earnings excluding bonuses slowed to 2.2% in the February quarter, but this was above views for 2.1%.

There was precious little in the way of blue-chip corporate news about.

There were big falls among miners, with supermarkets, banks and general financials and house builders also down. Rio Tinto, Sainsbury, and Taylor Wimpey all lost ground.

However, utilities, commercial property and insurers made gains. Among these were United Utilities, British Land and Standard Life.

Tesco fell heavily after reporting a 29.9% rise in adjusted group full-year operating profits to £1.28bn. Costs linked to its accounting scandal in 2016 saw reported profits drop 39%.

With more questions popping up around Tesco's proposed acquisition of Booker, shares in the cash-and-carry and convenience group were knocked lower.

BHP Billiton fell after issuing a response to the proposals from activist investor Elliott Advisors, saying Elliott materially overstated the potential value that could be created.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,348.99 -0.22%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,423.94 0.61%
techMARK (TASX) 3,466.76 0.79%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 830.50p 2.47%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 736.50p 1.80%
Sage Group (SGE) 650.00p 1.72%
DCC (DCC) 7,180.00p 1.63%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,492.00p 1.37%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 288.10p 1.30%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,068.00p 1.27%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 8,510.00p 1.25%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,430.00p 1.17%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,013.00p 1.10%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Tesco (TSCO) 184.40p -5.73%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,145.00p -3.98%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,171.00p -3.90%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,268.00p -3.54%
Glencore (GLEN) 310.00p -3.25%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 824.50p -2.83%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 257.90p -2.68%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,616.00p -2.18%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,425.00p -2.04%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 232.00p -1.74%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Pagegroup (PAGE) 475.40p 7.10%
Hunting (HTG) 608.00p 3.83%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,125.00p 3.78%
Ibstock (IBST) 207.30p 3.49%
Hays (HAS) 168.20p 3.44%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 1,970.00p 3.43%
BTG (BTG) 633.50p 3.26%
TR Property Inv Trust (TRY) 327.00p 3.15%
AO World (AO.) 143.20p 3.10%
Meggitt (MGGT) 460.50p 3.04%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Vedanta Resources (VED) 766.50p -6.30%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 158.90p -5.25%
Evraz (EVR) 216.20p -4.88%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 448.50p -4.19%
Booker Group (BOK) 193.90p -4.10%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 602.50p -3.21%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 279.90p -2.37%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,788.00p -2.03%
Sanne Group (SNN) 721.00p -1.97%
Ladbrokes Coral Group (LCL) 126.30p -1.86%


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