London close: Stocks grind higher in cautious trading
London stocks finished the week on a positive note as investors as investors digested slightly weaker than expected consumption data and softer readings for inflation expectations in the US.
Worth noting, activity in markets was restrained due to caution ahead of central bank meetings in the US, UK and euro area scheduled for over the following week.
Those announcements would be followed by the all-import US non-farm payrolls report next Friday.
The FTSE 100 was up just 0.05% higher at 7,765.31, although the second-tier index jumped by 0.60% to 20,035.39.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: "Despite the best efforts of various parties, the monthly PCE index never seems to quite generate the excitement of the CPI reading, despite the former being the Fed’s preferred measure.
"Thus today’s data passed largely without much notice, but then with three big central bank meetings, a payrolls report and major tech earnings next week the market has much bigger fish to fry."
In equity markets, Sainsbury’s rallied after convenience store retailer Bestway Group said it had purchased or agreed to buy a 3.45% stake in the supermarket giant, but was not considering an offer for the chain.
"Bestway Group intends to hold its shares in Sainsbury's for investment purposes and looks forward to supporting the executive management team," it said. "Bestway Group may look to make further market purchases of Sainsbury's shares from time to time, subject to availability and price."
Paragon Banking Group was in the black after it lifted its guidance for net interest margins for the 2023 fiscal year, saying that it had begun "well", with loan book growth and net interest margins both running ahead of expectations.
Rolls Royce was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 after the company’s new boss reportedly told staff that it was a “burning platform".
In a global address to staff, parts of which were shared with the Financial Times, Tufan Erginbilgic, said that "given everything I know talking to investors, this is our last chance". He described the company's performance as unsustainable, adding that the situation had nothing to do with Covid-19.
Insurer Direct Line fell after it announced that chief executive Penny James has agreed with the board to step down with immediate effect. The news comes just two weeks after the company scrapped its dividend, sending the stock plummeting.
Outside the FTSE 350, Amigo Holdings tumbled after saying it has received a number of expressions of interest in its capital raise, but that this remains below the guarantor lender’s £45m target. If the capital raise does not go ahead, the business will likely be wound down.
Fashion brand Superdry also slid after it cut its full-year profit outlook to breakeven, citing underperformance of its wholesale segment and increasing uncertainty over the fourth quarter.
In broker note action, 888 was upgraded to ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan, while Flutter was cut to ‘neutral’.
Peel Hunt downgraded Antofagasta to ‘reduce’ and Close Brothers to ‘hold’.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,765.15 0.05%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,035.39 0.60%
techMARK (TASX) 4,427.94 -0.05%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 252.50p 5.47%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,443.50p 2.56%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 604.40p 2.16%
Unite Group (UTG) 1,012.00p 2.02%
SEGRO (SGRO) 843.80p 1.96%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 118.30p 1.89%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,364.00p 1.82%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,433.00p 1.63%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 118.80p 1.63%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 771.00p 1.58%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 110.20p -2.89%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,762.00p -2.22%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 161.60p -1.70%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,465.00p -1.54%
Diageo (DGE) 3,422.00p -1.44%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 6,291.00p -1.35%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,122.00p -1.19%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 5,584.00p -1.17%
Fresnillo (FRES) 859.20p -1.13%
Halma (HLMA) 2,115.00p -1.08%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 150.00p 6.76%
IP Group (IPO) 63.65p 5.21%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 468.00p 4.70%
OSB Group (OSB) 552.50p 4.54%
IWG (IWG) 189.80p 4.20%
International Distributions Services (IDS) 230.80p 3.96%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 178.20p 3.85%
Volution Group (FAN) 384.50p 3.81%
Tritax Eurobox (GBP) (EBOX) 69.40p 3.74%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 117.00p 3.54%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Mitie Group (MTO) 79.50p -4.45%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 147.40p -3.03%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 252.50p -2.88%
Coats Group (COA) 70.10p -2.88%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 173.80p -2.80%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 179.50p -2.68%
Trainline (TRN) 296.80p -2.08%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,740.00p -2.00%
Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 112.30p -1.92%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 754.80p -1.64%