London midday: Stocks post modest gains as financials, miners gain
UK stocks were putting in a decent performance on Friday, bucking the negative trend seen across Europe, with decent gains in the heavyweight financial and mining sectors providing a lift.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.7% at 7,731 by lunchtime. However, indices across France, Germany, Italy and Spain were all in the red as investors reacted to a host of disappointing economic data out during the morning session.
It's been a tumultuous week for stock markets worldwide following central bank decisions in six of the G10 nations, with the Federal Reserve and Bank of England dominating the headlines in particular.
The Fed and BoE left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, but policymakers from both sides argued that rates are likely to stay elevated for some time yet, and even another rate hike might be possible if incoming economic data suggests it is needed.
"The prospect of interest rates staying higher for longer has given investors a lingering headache and sentiment has worsened as the week progressed,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
Economic data barrage
Purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) across the Eurozone and UK were out on Friday morning.
The flash HCOB Eurozone composite PMI output index came in at 47.1 in September, up from 46.7 in August and marginally above forecasts for a slight dip to 46.5 – though it still remained below the 50 mark which separates growth from contraction. The services PMI came in ahead of expectations, while the manufacturing PMI disappointed – though both remain in negative territory.
The S&P Global/CIPS UK composite PMI fell to 46.8 in September, down from 48.6 in August and below the 48.7 forecast, as the contraction in the services sector offset a small improvement (albeit still in decline) in manufacturing.
Other data revealed that UK retail sales rebounded in August from the rain affected prior month, rising 0.4% on the back of strong food and clothing purchases by consumers. This was an improvement from the 1.1% decline in July but slightly below the 0.5% increase expected by analysts.
Meanwhile, the GfK Consumer Confidence index increased four points to -21, the highest reading since January 2022.
Ocado attempts a rebound
Ocado was among the best performers, up 5% as it attempted to claw its way back after plummeting 20% yesterday following a broker downgrade by Exane Paribas to 'underperform'. Prior to this week, the stock had more than doubled since June.
JD Sports Fashion was extending gains after impressing the market with its interim results yesterday, with pre-tax profits jumping by 26%.
AstraZeneca was higher after announcing positive results from the TROPION-Breast01 phase three trial on Friday.
Meanwhile, mining stocks were performing well as risk appetite returned somewhat with metals prices rebounding after heavy falls the previous session. Anglo American and Glencore were among the best performers on the FTSE 100.
Banking peers Lloyds and HSBC and financial services group Hargreaves Lansdown were also putting in a decent performance.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 679.80p 4.85%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 45.99p 3.39%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 11,164.00p 2.50%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 633.80p 2.46%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 831.00p 2.24%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,282.00p 2.21%
Rightmove (RMV) 566.40p 2.09%
Glencore (GLEN) 460.65p 1.86%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 648.60p 1.86%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 147.50p 1.83%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 4,314.00p -1.60%
Centrica (CNA) 169.65p -1.54%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,718.00p -1.38%
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 528.60p -1.31%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 285.90p -1.11%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 576.40p -1.09%
Next (NXT) 7,276.00p -1.01%
Halma (HLMA) 2,005.00p -0.94%
BAE Systems (BA.) 1,020.00p -0.92%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 272.30p -0.91%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ascential (ASCL) 202.00p 4.89%
Trainline (TRN) 267.80p 3.22%
Rathbones Group (RAT) 1,798.00p 2.74%
Investec (INVP) 484.40p 2.46%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,110.00p 1.92%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 594.00p 1.71%
Ninety One (N91) 172.20p 1.65%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,060.00p 1.53%
Just Group (JUST) 73.40p 1.52%
C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 142.20p 1.43%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Drax Group (DRX) 474.40p -3.02%
Ceres Power Holdings (CWR) 339.40p -2.82%
SSP Group (SSPG) 218.40p -2.76%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 163.00p -2.63%
IWG (IWG) 153.70p -2.54%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 76.80p -2.41%
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd. (VOF) 447.00p -2.30%
Savills (SVS) 887.50p -2.26%
Shaftesbury Capital (SHC) 117.50p -2.08%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 197.00p -1.99%