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London close: Stocks finish mixed as investors hold breath for November

By Josh White

Date: Friday 30 Oct 2020

London close: Stocks finish mixed as investors hold breath for November

(Sharecast News) - London stocks closed in a mixed state on Friday, after results from US technology giants failed to impress and as worries about the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns continued to weigh on investors' minds.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.08% at 5,577.27, while the FTSE 250 managed gains of 0.21% to 17,214.38.

Sterling was struggling for direction as well, last sitting unchanged against the dollar at $1.2930, and strengthening 0.23% on the euro to €1.1104.

"Investors might want to savour this week before it goes entirely, since next week's presidential election could spark a long and drawn out battle for the presidency," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"If the result provides even the slightest excuse for a challenge, you can be sure Donald Trump will grab it with both hands, clearing the way for a volatile end to the year.

"If he is defeated next week, as still seems likely despite the potential paths to victory that some are highlighting, then the 'Tweeter-in-Chief' will depart the Oval Office in the same chaotic manner in which he has governed."

Beauchamp quipped that, if the US election wasn't enough, the Bank of England and the Fed were also coming up next week, along with monthly jobs numbers.

"October is going out with a bang, and there seems every chance November will come in with one too."

Investors spent the early parts of the session mulling over earnings from the likes of Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook overnight.

"Big tech reported earnings that showed its resilience to the virus but also betrayed just how richly priced these stocks are in the wake of the pandemic," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

"With the exception of Google parent Alphabet, shares fell across the board after hours, which weighed on US futures overnight."

On home shores, the latest survey from Nationwide showed that annual house price growth hit a five-year high in October but activity looks set to slow.

Annual house price growth came in at 5.8%, up from 5.0% in September and reaching its highest level since January 2015, with the stamp duty cut lending a hand.

In July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak lifted the threshold at which buyers start to pay stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000.

On the month, house prices rose 0.8% in October, down from 0.9% growth the month before.

Nationwide's chief economist, Robert Gardner, said that data suggested the economic recovery has lost momentum in recent months, while labour market conditions also weakened, with the unemployment rate rising to 4.5% in the three months to August compared to an average of 3.8% in 2019.

"The outlook remains highly uncertain and will depend heavily on how the pandemic and the measures to contain it evolve as well as the efficacy of policy measures implemented to limit the damage to the wider economy," Gardner said.

"Behavioural shifts as a result of Covid-19 may provide support for housing market activity, while the stamp duty holiday will continue to provide a near term boost by bringing purchases forward.

"However, activity is likely to slow in the coming quarters, perhaps sharply, if the labour market weakens as most analysts expect, especially once the stamp duty holiday expires at the end of March."

In equity markets, Glencore reversed earlier losses to close 0.26% stronger after it posted a drop in year-to-date production for most of its commodities and cut its full-year production guidance for coal.

Taxpayer-owned bank NatWest was 6.02% firmer after it reported better-than-expected third-quarter profits and made lower bad debt provisions relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

The bank posted a £355m pre-tax profit for the three months to 30 September, compared to estimates of £75m, while bad loan provisions came in at £254m, compared to the £628m forecast.

Royal Dutch Shell was boosted 3.42% by an upgrade to 'equal weight' at Barclays.

Pan-African fuel retailer and distributor Vivo Energy rallied 5.44% after saying it will pay its previously-withdraw 2019 dividend as it reported an improvement in third-quarter volumes amid an easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,577.27 -0.08%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,214.38 0.21%
techMARK (TASX) 3,577.33 -0.10%

FTSE 100 - Risers

NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 124.20p 6.02%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 95.66p 5.03%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 965.40p 3.51%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 929.00p 3.42%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,692.00p 3.20%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 224.50p 2.93%
WPP (WPP) 616.60p 2.80%
BT Group (BT.A) 101.40p 2.30%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,147.00p 2.19%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 283.10p 2.17%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,283.00p -2.85%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,568.00p -2.64%
Avast (AVST) 477.60p -2.37%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 526.00p -2.30%
Next (NXT) 5,840.00p -2.18%
BAE Systems (BA.) 397.00p -2.07%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 484.80p -1.80%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 997.50p -1.72%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,336.50p -1.69%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,639.50p -1.50%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Cineworld Group (CINE) 27.68p 6.67%
Indivior (INDV) 110.30p 5.75%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 75.60p 5.44%
Essentra (ESNT) 246.60p 5.38%
SSP Group (SSPG) 186.70p 4.95%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 53.90p 4.76%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 222.40p 4.22%
Ninety One (N91) 206.00p 4.04%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 302.60p 4.02%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 803.50p 3.68%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 261.00p -4.04%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 180.70p -3.83%
Investec (INVP) 142.35p -3.16%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 26.70p -2.73%
Allianz Technology Trust (ATT) 2,500.00p -2.72%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,568.00p -2.64%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,070.00p -2.59%
Herald Investment Trust (HRI) 1,722.00p -2.49%
Schroder Oriental Income Fund Ltd. (SOI) 224.50p -2.39%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 10,320.00p -2.37%

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