London close: Stocks end mixed ahead of key speech from Fed's Powell
London stocks ended Tuesday on a mixed note, although BP shares surged following the release of its latest set of results, even as investors eyed a speech by US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell scheduled for after the close.
The FTSE 100 was 0.36% firmer at 7,864.71, but the second-tier index gave back 1.08% to 20,189.0.
In parallel, the pound was drifting lower by 0.07% to 1.2010 and the yield on the benchmark 10-year Gilt was up by seven basis points to 3.317%.
Powell was due to speak at the Economic Club of Washington from 1800 GMT.
"Market sentiment remains on the rocks after a week of volatility that saw a bumper payrolls figure hammer home earlier warnings of additional monetary tightening at the Fed," said IG senior market analyst Josh Mahony.
"[...] Fears of additional rate hikes bring upside for the dollar, although the subsequent GBPUSD decline helps alleviate FTSE 100 declines thanks to the impact on earnings valuations for internationally-focused firms. For that reason, the FTSE 100 outperformance today highlights how the index should be propped up if market declines are accompanied by dollar strength."
On home shores, investors digested industry data showing that UK retail sales growth slowed last month as the festive boost faded.
According to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, total sales rose 4.2% year-on-year in January, or by 3.9% on a like-for-like basis.
It was a marked slowdown on January 2022, when retail sales strengthened 11.9% on both a total and like-for-like sales basis. It was also down on December, when total sales rose 6.9% and underlying sales by 6.5%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "As Christmas cheer subsided, retailers felt the January blues as sales growth slowed.
"Many retailers discounted heavily to entice consumer spend, and while there were bargains to be had in the January sales, retailers continue to be hit by lower margins and falling volumes.
"The coming months will continue to be challenging for retailers and their customers. Consumer confidence remains stubbornly low and looming rises in household bills and mortgages mean discretionary spending will remain weak."
Market participants were also mulling over the latest survey from mortgage lender Halifax, which showed that house prices stabilised in January following four months of falls.
Prices were broadly flat on the month at £281,684, following a 1.3% decline in December and a 2.4% drop in November. On the year, price growth slowed to 1.9% from 2.1% in December and 4.6% in November.
The average house price was now around £12,500, or 4.2%, below its peak in August last year, but around £5,000 higher than in January 2022.
In equity markets, BP surged to the top of the FTSE 100 after saying it more than doubled annual profits to a record $27.6bn as it cashed in on soaring gas prices. This fuelled more calls for the government to change windfall tax arrangements on energy companies as consumers face a 40% rise in household bills in April.
The full-year result compares with $12.8bn a year earlier. In the final three months of 2022 underlying replacement cost profit - its preferred measure - came in at $4.80bn, missing estimates of $5.04bn and well below $8.15bn in the third quarter.
BP's results follow those from rival Shell, which last week posted record yearly profits of almost $40bn as gas prices took off as Russia invaded Ukraine. Shell also rallied.
Auction Technology gained 10% after it announced the acquisition of US estate sales listing site Vintage Software for $40m.
On the downside, Morgan Advanced Materials slumped as it warned that disruption from a previously-disclosed cyber incident meant that FY2023 adjusted operating profit was likely to be 10-15% lower than expected.
Ferrexpo plummeted after the iron ore pellet maker said Ukrainian courts have granted an order to freeze bank accounts belonging to one of its subsidiaries in the war-torn country over alleged royalty underpayments.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,864.71 0.36%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,189.00 -1.08%
techMARK (TASX) 4,515.47 -0.22%
FTSE 100 - Risers
BP (BP.) 516.40p 7.95%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 121.10p 3.15%
BT Group (BT.A) 133.75p 2.61%
Shell (SHEL) 2,455.00p 2.36%
GSK (GSK) 1,485.60p 1.68%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 682.60p 1.67%
Beazley (BEZ) 667.50p 1.60%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 605.00p 1.51%
NATWEST GROUP (NWG) 304.00p 1.27%
Barclays (BARC) 188.84p 1.23%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pearson (PSON) 902.00p -2.78%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 144.40p -2.56%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,883.00p -2.31%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 494.10p -2.12%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 768.40p -2.06%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,700.00p -2.01%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,488.00p -1.91%
Rightmove (RMV) 589.80p -1.90%
Sage Group (SGE) 780.40p -1.79%
Experian (EXPN) 3,019.00p -1.76%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 748.00p 9.52%
Darktrace (DARK) 243.70p 5.04%
Balanced Commercial Property Trust Limited (BCPT) 82.80p 2.48%
Energean (ENOG) 1,204.00p 2.12%
International Distributions Services (IDS) 238.60p 1.66%
ITV (ITV) 86.64p 1.62%
Redrow (RDW) 540.50p 1.60%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 3,178.00p 1.34%
Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 2,735.00p 1.30%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 34.34p 1.12%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 137.50p -9.84%
Mitie Group (MTO) 78.10p -6.35%
Currys (CURY) 72.25p -5.80%
Future (FUTR) 1,603.00p -5.20%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 300.50p -4.91%
Supermarket Income Reit (SUPR) 96.80p -4.63%
IWG (IWG) 183.65p -4.45%
Molten Ventures (GROW) 365.40p -4.35%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 105.50p -4.00%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 239.60p -3.93%