London close: Stocks end lower in quiet trade as US markets shut
London stocks drifted lower on Thursday, lacking direction as US markets were closed for Thanksgiving, as investors mulled the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The FTSE 100 closed down 0.4% at 6,362.93, while the FTSE 250 ended 0.9% lower at 19,396.34.
IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said: "In the absence of a cheery US disposition, we have seen European markets flounder somewhat as ongoing questions over the forthcoming economic difficulties overshadowed optimism over future recovery prospects.
"The outperformance in the more internationally focused FTSE 100 over the FTSE 250 highlights growing fears over the direction of travel for the UK economy. Weakness across banking and airline stocks highlight the fear that the UK will continue to struggle in its bid to get back to normality despite the recent vaccine optimism that has permeated through markets. Undoubtedly value stocks has plenty of upside to come, yet we could be at a point where investors will be left wondering just how long they have to wait until they can judge that actual recovery for themselves."
Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed which tiers different regions in England would be under when the national lockdown ends next Wednesday, with London in tier 2, as widely expected.
Market participants were also digesting news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to extend the country’s ‘lockdown lite’ until 20 December.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "The decision by the German government to go down this road suggests that the coming winter is likely to be a long hard slog for businesses all over Europe, as populations tire of having their freedoms restricted, and concerns grow about the prospect of much longer term economic damage."
In equity markets, ex-dividends were a drag, with Persimmon, Imperial Brands, National Grid, CMC Markets and Bellway all in the frame.
Virgin Money was under the cosh a day after saying it had taken a £501m impairment charge due to the pandemic.
Online electricals retailer AO World was also weaker after Jefferies downgraded its stance on the shares to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ after they surged to a record high.
Bodycote fell after announcing another restructuring and saying it expects the civil aerospace market to remain near the current low levels for at least the next 18 months.
On the upside, sales, marketing and support services group DCC was boosted by an upgrade to ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley.
Precious metals miner Polymetal International rallied after it acquired a stake in copper and gold exploration group Chesterfield Resources.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 13,875.00p 4.32%
DCC (DCC) 5,822.00p 2.97%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,604.50p 2.66%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,602.00p 2.45%
Homeserve (HSV) 1,067.00p 2.20%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,352.00p 2.17%
Avast (AVST) 500.00p 2.04%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,196.00p 1.67%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 332.10p 1.59%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 468.80p 1.58%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Persimmon (PSN) 2,694.00p -4.94%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,418.00p -4.90%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,657.00p -4.61%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 159.15p -3.92%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 165.20p -3.25%
National Grid (NG.) 881.40p -3.01%
BT Group (BT.A) 121.80p -2.95%
CRH (CRH) 3,080.00p -2.75%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 37.22p -2.40%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 269.80p -2.39%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Petropavlovsk (POG) 27.30p 5.61%
Future (FUTR) 1,720.00p 5.26%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 363.10p 3.51%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 3,194.00p 3.50%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 221.00p 3.08%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 113.25p 2.67%
Polypipe Group (PLP) 493.00p 2.39%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 257.50p 2.39%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 3,030.00p 2.36%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 230.00p 2.22%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 127.25p -9.11%
AO World (AO.) 356.00p -6.07%
Bodycote (BOY) 725.50p -5.41%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 387.00p -4.80%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 158.75p -4.51%
SSP Group (SSPG) 335.20p -4.23%
Ascential (ASCL) 330.80p -4.17%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,238.00p -4.03%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,439.00p -4.00%
Bellway (BWY) 2,891.00p -3.99%