London close: Stocks fall ahead of central bank decisions next week
London's stock markets concluded the week in negative territory on Friday, with investors casting a cautious eye towards next week's crucial interest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The FTSE 100 dipped 0.49% to close at 7,562.36 points, while the FTSE 250 shed a slight 0.08% to settle at 19,091.66 points.
In currencies, sterling made marginal gains against its major trading pairs, rising 0.04% on the dollar to $1.2565, while it strengthened 0.24% against the euro to change hands at €1.1676.
"This week's surprise rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of Canada are unlikely to be replicated at next week's Fed, ECB and BoJ monetary meetings," said IG senior market analyst Axel Rudolph.
"Except for an expected 25 basis-point rate hike by the ECB to 3.50%, the other two central banks are likely to keep to the status quo.
"Nonetheless US inflation data may add some volatility to the mix."
China inflation data dampens sentiment
There were no major data points of note on home shores on Friday, but in China, the producer price index (PPI), a measure of the cost of goods at the factory gate, slid by 4.6% last month, marking the most significant year-on-year plunge since February 2016 and outpacing April's 3.6% decrease.
The drop surpassed expectations, with the majority of experts predicting a decline of around 4.3%.
The steepest price drops were experienced in the upstream sectors.
The mining price index plummeted 11.5% year-on-year, while raw materials saw a 7.7% dip.
Producer goods and manufactured goods fell 5.9% and 4.6% respectively.
In contrast, the consumer price index (CPI), reflecting the prices consumers pay for goods and services, witnessed a slight increase of 0.2% in May, a marginal improvement from April's 0.1% uptick.
However, that was below market predictions of a 0.3% rise, indicating persistently lacklustre consumer spending.
On a month-on-month basis, prices experienced a 0.2% decline, slightly worse than the forecasted 0.1% drop.
Food price inflation, a critical element of the CPI, decelerated to 1% from April's 2.4%, with month-on-month food prices easing 0.7%.
Croda crumbles, Network International jumps on acquisition news
On London's equity markets, Croda International, a speciality chemicals company, was among the leading fallers with a significant plunge of 12.72%.
That was driven by a warning the firm issued regarding its full-year profits.
Citing reduced sales volumes and customer destocking, Croda now anticipated a 2023 group pre-tax profit between £370m and £400m - significantly below the market consensus expectation of £440m.
CMC Markets, an online retail trading firm, also took a hit, slipping 3.08%.
The firm announced earlier that it was acquiring a 33% stake in StrikeX Technologies, a customer-centric blockchain solutions business.
On the upside, Network International saw its shares surge by 5.64%.
The uplift came on the heels of news that the company has agreed to be acquired by Canada's Brookfield Asset Management in a deal worth £2.2bn.
Also posting gains, B&M European Value Retail advanced 0.3%, buoyed by an upgrade to 'buy' status from Stifel.
Property developer Hammerson enjoyed a boost of 3.01%, spurred by a double upgrade to 'overweight' from Barclays.
Outside the FTSE 350, a standout performance came from Amigo Holdings.
The guarantor loan provider's shares soared by a staggering 119.23%.
The spike followed the announcement that Amigo had granted an exclusivity agreement to a shareholder to explore financing options for the business.
Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 386.60p 5.48%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,372.00p 1.32%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 617.80p 1.28%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 74.88p 0.98%
Unite Group (UTG) 925.00p 0.98%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 864.80p 0.84%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,368.00p 0.71%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 239.20p 0.50%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 159.80p 0.50%
National Grid (NG.) 1,054.50p 0.43%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Croda International (CRDA) 5,274.00p -12.45%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,890.00p -3.09%
Beazley (BEZ) 578.00p -2.86%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 310.90p -1.77%
Experian (EXPN) 2,868.00p -1.65%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 148.65p -1.56%
Bunzl (BNZL) 3,070.00p -1.54%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 640.80p -1.51%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 462.90p -1.45%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 15,220.00p -1.42%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Network International Holdings (NETW) 383.00p 5.57%
Ithaca Energy (ITH) 153.20p 4.93%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 178.80p 3.95%
FirstGroup (FGP) 139.90p 3.48%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,890.50p 2.83%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,725.00p 2.64%
HGCapital Trust (HGT) 412.00p 2.49%
Hammerson (HMSO) 26.64p 2.30%
Investec (INVP) 469.30p 2.29%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 251.70p 2.28%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Synthomer (SYNT) 88.00p -5.78%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 586.00p -5.25%
ASOS (ASC) 325.10p -5.25%
Vanquis Banking Group 20 (VANQ) 211.50p -4.73%
Darktrace (DARK) 286.20p -4.09%
Mitie Group (MTO) 96.20p -3.32%
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 513.00p -3.12%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 169.80p -3.08%
Trainline (TRN) 264.80p -2.93%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 855.80p -2.93%