London close: Stocks mixed as sterling gains ground
London stocks were mixed at the close on Monday as the pound gained ground, with investors weighing up encouraging data out of China and the prospect of further US stimulus.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.59% at 5,884.65, while the FTSE 250 was ahead 0.24% at 17,866.09.
Sterling was in a strong position in afternoon trading, last rising 0.67% on the dollar to $1.3002, and gaining 0.07% against the euro to €1.1031.
"Markets have kick-started the week in indecisive fashion, with a disappointing Chinese third quarter growth figure laying the groundwork for a less than convincing session," said IG senior market analyst Joshua Mahony.
"With so many varying factors influencing market sentiment, it comes as no surprise to see confusion amongst the trading community."
Mahony said that, with traders having to weigh up the importance of Brexit concerns, coronavirus lockdowns, the US election, and the Chinese recovery, the indecision seen today could be indicative of the week ahead.
"Housing stocks have enjoyed a boost in the FTSE 100, with the likes of Rightmove and British Land leading the way after house prices continued their ascent throughout October."
A Bloomberg report earlier suggested that British officials were prepared to water down Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial lawbreaking Brexit legislation in a move that could revive talks with the European Union.
The report followed an announcement by Johnson on Friday during which he said the UK should prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
"Right now a skinny deal looks most likely," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.
Investors were also digesting the latest figures from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, which showed the economy continued to recover in the third quarter.
China’s economy expanded by 4.9% on the year, up from 3.2% growth in the second quarter and a big turnaround from the 6.8% contraction recorded in the first quarter of the year.
Economists had been expecting a 5.2% increase.
Data also showed that Chinese retail sales rose 3.3% on the year in September, up from 0.5% growth the month before and versus expectations of 1.8% growth.
Industrial production rose 6.9% on the year in September, up from 5.6% in August and compared to expectations of a 5.8% increase.
On home shores, the latest figures from Springboard showed that shopper numbers across the UK fell 3.1% last week compared to the week before as fresh, tiered Covid-19 restrictions took their toll.
Meanwhile, market participants continued to mull the prospect of further US stimulus.
"Nancy Pelosi, of the Democrats, said that she is optimistic about a deal being struck before the US presidential election, but there was an acknowledgement that differences still exist," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
"Some people are less convinced that an agreement can be reached as by tomorrow - the deadline that Pelosi set out.
"It would seem that traders are taking the view that where there is a will there is a way attitude as the political landscape isn’t looking too great but US index futures are higher."
In equity markets, InterContinental Hotels reversed earlier losses to close up 0.14%, even after a downgrade to ‘hold’ at Peel Hunt.
Office space provider IWG was boosted 4.97% after an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Berenberg, while Trainline was 0.48% higher after an initiation at ‘buy’ by Deutsche Bank.
On the downside, security services firm G4S lost 0.34% after it again rejected GardaWorld’s £3bn offer as the Canadian company posted full details of its 190p-a-share bid.
GardaWorld, 51% owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has not changed the terms of its bid, which G4S has dismissed as "highly opportunistic".
FTSE 100 - Risers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 100.05p 4.41%
Informa (INF) 417.60p 2.65%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 378.60p 2.38%
Next (NXT) 6,166.00p 2.22%
British Land Company (BLND) 365.00p 2.10%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,199.00p 1.91%
Rightmove (RMV) 676.40p 1.68%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 115.00p 1.63%
Barclays (BARC) 103.06p 1.53%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,255.00p 1.39%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
GVC Holdings (GVC) 1,039.50p -2.44%
DCC (DCC) 5,250.00p -2.21%
Pennon Group (PNN) 1,006.00p -2.09%
Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 13,000.00p -2.07%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,288.00p -2.05%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,204.00p -2.04%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 529.00p -1.89%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,381.00p -1.85%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,162.00p -1.80%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,639.00p -1.71%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Provident Financial (PFG) 213.20p 6.65%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 140.00p 6.06%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 291.80p 5.99%
IWG (IWG) 274.60p 4.97%
easyJet (EZJ) 493.40p 4.82%
Carnival (CCL) 947.20p 4.46%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 807.50p 4.40%
Signature Aviation (SIG) 244.70p 4.04%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 25.78p 4.00%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 326.00p 3.63%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Vivo Energy (VVO) 74.10p -3.53%
Serco Group (SRP) 133.70p -3.12%
Coats Group (COA) 56.00p -3.11%
Greencore Group (GNC) 93.25p -2.92%
Bodycote (BOY) 653.00p -2.88%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,168.00p -2.66%
Rank Group (RNK) 88.60p -2.64%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 2,580.00p -2.46%
AO World (AO.) 300.50p -2.44%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 398.60p -2.43%