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London close: Stocks finish down after disappointing retail sales data

By Josh White

Date: Thursday 14 Nov 2019

London close: Stocks finish down after disappointing retail sales data

(Sharecast News) - London stocks remained in the red through the afternoon to close weaker on Thursday, following the release of disappointing retail sales data, while luxury fashion brand Burberry remained in positive territory on the back of well-received interim results.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.8% at 7,292.76, and the FTSE 250 was off 0.29% at 20,231.80 by the end of trading.

In currencies, the pound was 0.26% stronger against the US dollar at $1.2885, and gained 0.21% on the euro at €1.1699.

Figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales fell unexpectedly in October.

Retail sales dipped 0.1% on the month following a flat reading in September, missing expectations for a 0.2%.

On the year, sales were up 3.1% in October, in line with the previous month but below expectations for a 3.7% jump.

In the three months to October, retail sales ticked up 0.2% compared to the previous three months, marking the lowest growth since April 2018.

"Retail sales increased at a slower rate in the latest three months, with growth the weakest seen since April of last year," said a spokesperson from the ONS.

"All main sectors saw falling sales apart from food shops."

The spokesperson noted that department store sales had rebounded in October, driven by promotional events and an earlier introduction of Christmas lines.

"However, their sales still remain significantly down over the longer term."

Thomas Pugh, UK economist at Capital Economics, said that consumers could just be holding off on purchases ahead of 'Black Friday' discounts in November, which were poorly captured in the ONS seasonal adjustment process.

"But at least some of last month's weakness may reflect the recent weakness in the labour market with fewer people in employment and wage growth slowing, consumers may feel less flush.

"Overall, it is increasingly clear that the risks to our forecast for GDP growth of 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter appear on the downside."

Elsewhere, the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed that UK house prices fell in October as buyers and sellers opted to sit tight amid political uncertainty.

The net balance of surveyors reporting that house prices had risen over the last three months slipped to -5 from -3 in September, coming in a touch below consensus expectations for an unchanged reading.

More broadly, investors continued to keep an eye on trade relations between the US and China following reports late Wednesday that talks between the two nations were stalling because of disagreements over agricultural purchases.

In equity markets, private equity firm 3i Group remained in the doldrums on the FTSE 100, falling 4.58% as it posted a 10% total return for the first half of the year, but said it had maintained its "cautious" positioning on new investment.

FirstGroup slumped 20.34% as it said losses in the first half widened and that the formal sale process for its Greyhound business was "well advanced".

Sainsbury's lost 0.69%, GlaxoSmithKline fell 2.2%, Royal Dutch Shell was off 1.76%, Bunzl slipped 1.27% and Marks & Spencer was 1.46% lower, as all of their stocks went ex-dividend.

On the upside, Burberry lost some steam towards the end of the session, but still finished 3.35% higher after it posted a jump in interim profit and revenue and backing its full-year guidance despite "considerable" disruptions in Hong Kong.

Investors also welcomed the news that the company had entered into an exclusive partnership with Chinese technology group Tencent to develop "social retail" in China.

Qinetiq gained 9.19% as the defence technology firm reported an increase in first-half profit and revenue as orders grew, while Premier Oil managed gains of 0.3% by the close as it said annual production would be at the upper end of its previous guidance.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,292.76 -0.80%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,231.80 -0.29%
techMARK (TASX) 3,993.36 -0.56%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,129.00p 3.35%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,283.00p 2.64%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,556.00p 2.12%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,157.00p 2.07%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 169.40p 1.83%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 900.00p 1.69%
Just Eat (JE.) 746.00p 0.89%
Relx plc (REL) 1,871.50p 0.67%
Rightmove (RMV) 594.00p 0.64%
Ferguson (FERG) 6,804.00p 0.50%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

3i Group (III) 1,073.50p -4.58%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 159.58p -3.31%
DCC (DCC) 6,674.00p -3.28%
Fresnillo (FRES) 636.40p -2.96%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 861.60p -2.82%
Croda International (CRDA) 4,758.00p -2.70%
Evraz (EVR) 356.50p -2.60%
Kingfisher (KGF) 206.90p -2.50%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 201.30p -2.28%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,701.20p -2.20%

FTSE 250 - Risers

QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 349.60p 9.19%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,592.00p 6.13%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 262.50p 4.13%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 502.40p 3.59%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 3,908.00p 3.39%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 561.00p 2.94%
Grainger (GRI) 269.80p 2.51%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,980.00p 2.41%
Card Factory (CARD) 158.50p 2.26%
Hammerson (HMSO) 280.20p 2.11%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

FirstGroup (FGP) 105.40p -18.48%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 66.60p -5.53%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 435.00p -4.61%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 220.50p -3.92%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 175.25p -3.77%
Spectris (SXS) 2,613.00p -3.15%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 118.05p -2.92%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,352.00p -2.87%
Greggs (GRG) 2,058.00p -2.65%
Savills (SVS) 925.50p -2.53%

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