London close: Stocks mixed after historic low for US jobless claims
London stocks were once again mixed at the close on Wednesday, as investors digested historic lows for jobless claims figures across the pond, as well as a surge in factory orders on home shores.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.27% at 7,286.32, while the FTSE 250 was down 0.23% at 23,167.06.
Sterling was also going in different directions, last trading 0.4% weaker against the dollar at $1.3325, while it strengthened 0.09% on the euro to change hands at €1.1904.
“Energy, mining and bank stocks are making headway, lifting the FTSE 100 from its doldrums of the morning session and once again seeing the UK market outperform its peers on the continent, where Covid fears continue to hit risk appetite,” said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.
“Headlines about a lockdown in Germany sent the euro to its lowest level in nearly a year and a half [against the dollar], helping to provide some small measure of support for European equities.
“As yet the usual late-November bounce in stocks has yet to really materialise, however.”
Initial jobless claims in the United States dived in the week ended 20 November, according to fresh data from the Labor Department during the afternoon, hitting a level not seen in more than half a century.
First-time claims for unemployment totalled 199,000 last week, a drop of 71,000 from the prior week to a seasonally adjusted print of 199,000, a number not seen since November 1969 and well below median estimates for a reading of 260,000 applications.
If sustained, the decline would signal yet another milestone in the US labour market's uneven recovery.
Continuing claims fell to 2.04m from 2.10m , while the four-week moving average dropped to 252,250 from 273,250.
“Overall, we believe economic conditions are only improving, especially the US weekly jobless claims, and this is a strong reason for the Fed to hike the interest rate next year,” said AvaTrade's Naeem Aslam.
Earlier in the day, the Confederation of British Industry’s latest survey showed UK factory orders surging in November, leaving manufacturers struggling to keep up.
The monthly order book balance rose to +26% from 9% in October, marking the highest reading since the series began in April 1977 and coming in above expectations of +8%.
However, the survey also showed that manufacturers’ price expectations rose to a 44-year high.
The output price expectations balance rose to +67 in November - the highest since May 1977 - from +59 in October.
“It’s good to see strong order books and output growth in the manufacturing sector holding up as we head into winter,” said CBI deputy economist Anna Leach.
“Output growth has been steady for three months now and remains quicker than its long-run average.
“But intense supply side challenges continue to put pressure on firms’ capacity to meet demand.”
In equity markets, Intertek jumped 6.01% after saying it was on track for solid annual growth as the product testing company reported revenue up 6.7% in the most recent four-month period.
Land Securities was ahead 1% following a report it was in talks with Lendlease about the acquisition of a 25% stake in the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent in a deal worth £200m.
According to Property Week, a deal would see Landsec take majority control of the massive Dartford shopping mall, lifting its stake to 55%.
It cited sources as saying that the two parties are close to agreeing a deal.
Housebuilders also gained, with Barratt Developments up 1%, Persimmon adding 1.77%, and Taylor Wimpey 1.81% higher.
Gold miner Hochschild was 6.64% firmer, having fallen sharply a day earlier after saying it would fight plans by the Peruvian government to shut its mines there on environmental grounds.
It also benefited from an upgrade to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ at Barclays, which said the selloff in response to the threat of mine closures "presents a significant value opportunity".
LXi REIT was also in the black, rising 3.8% following well-received interim results.
Drinks maker Britvic effervesced ahead 2.51% as it lifted its dividend after a rise in annual profits as store sales increased after the easing of Covid lockdown restrictions.
On the downside, Entain and Flutter Entertainment lost 3.16% and 2.04%, respectively, after the Telegraph suggested that gamblers could be limited to a maximum £2 bet online and £100 spending a month.
Genus tumbled 9.98% after the animal genetics company said that based on current trading, especially in China, pre-tax profit for 2022 was set to be "moderately lower" than its previous expectation.
Brewin Dolphin slid 5.73% despite the wealth manager reporting record full-year discretionary fund inflows.
Chemicals company Johnson Matthey fell 2.15% after it said it had sold its advanced glass technologies business to Fenzi Holdings for £178m as it reported a half-year loss and announced a £200m share buyback.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,474.00p 6.01%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,556.00p 2.07%
SEGRO (SGRO) 1,384.50p 1.88%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 160.65p 1.81%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,822.00p 1.77%
British Land Company (BLND) 533.20p 1.72%
Schroders (SDR) 3,621.00p 1.57%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 117.78p 1.55%
BP (BP.) 344.50p 1.50%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,660.40p 1.32%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,229.00p -3.87%
Entain (ENT) 1,825.50p -3.16%
Fresnillo (FRES) 901.40p -2.85%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,137.00p -2.15%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 10,815.00p -2.04%
Darktrace (DARK) 489.00p -1.96%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,136.00p -1.86%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,337.50p -1.72%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,782.00p -1.66%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,538.00p -1.32%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 304.20p 6.98%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 122.00p 6.64%
Chrysalis Investments Limited NPV (CHRY) 244.00p 4.24%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 341.80p 4.08%
LXI Reit (LXI) 153.40p 3.80%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 214.50p 3.32%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 218.50p 2.82%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 425.20p 2.75%
Britvic (BVIC) 900.00p 2.51%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 228.00p 2.47%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Genus (GNS) 4,726.00p -9.98%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 53.80p -6.01%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 354.00p -5.73%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 994.00p -5.33%
Cranswick (CWK) 3,496.00p -5.01%
888 Holdings (888) 334.40p -4.18%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 528.00p -3.83%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 1,266.00p -3.66%
Chemring Group (CHG) 285.00p -3.39%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,452.00p -3.20%