London midday: Stocks a touch weaker as recession worries weigh
London stocks were still a touch weaker by midday on Thursday as recession fears continued to weigh on sentiment.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.1% at 7,480.04.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The risk-off sentiment more widely on stock markets this week remains hard to kick into touch as concerns about recession stay front and centre. The evil twins of recession and persistently higher inflation are lurking, keeping investors on edge."
Market participants were digesting the latest residential survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which showed that house prices fell across the UK last month as higher borrowing costs and the weakened economic outlook dented sentiment.
The survey found that a net balance of -25% of participants reported a fall in house prices during November, compared to -2% in October.
It is the lowest reading since May 2020, when the UK was in lockdown early in the pandemic, and well below consensus, for -10%. Participants also reported falls across the UK, with the exception of Scotland and Northern Ireland only.
Nor are prices expected to pick up in the coming year, with a net balance of -62% forecasting further falls.
Buyer demand also fell, with a net balance of -38%, although it was an improvement on October’s balance of -53%.
Agreed sales were lower, with a net balance of -35%, the second month in a row that respondents in every region reported a decline. It was, however, marginally stronger that October’s balance of -45%.
Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at Rics, said: "The overall tone of the latest survey is understandably more downbeat than previously, reflecting the uncertain macro environment and the higher cost of mortgage finance."
In equity markets, Sports Direct and House of Fraser owner Frasers Group tumbled as it posted a jump in interim profits but warned over a challenging backdrop.
British American Tobacco lost ground despite saying it was on course to meet full-year guidance, after strong growth in vaping products.
BT was down as the company’s pension scheme told politicians it could require more support from the telecoms group after it made changes to its investment strategy.
On the upside, Asia-focused Prudential gained as investors welcomed the easing of Covid restrictions in China.
Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty rallied after saying annual profit was set to be ahead of expectations due to positive net interest income and lower tax charges.
Packaging company DS Smith also rose as it lifted its full-year outlook, hailing an "excellent" performance in the first half.
In broker note action, Travis Perkins was knocked lower by a downgrade to ‘underweight’ at JPMorgan, while LSE was hit by a downgrade to ‘neutral’ at UBS. But BA and Iberia owner IAG and Wizz Air flew higher after an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,480.04 -0.12%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,887.75 -0.23%
techMARK (TASX) 4,377.56 -0.46%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 890.00p 2.75%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 854.40p 2.32%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,729.00p 2.01%
Prudential (PRU) 1,073.00p 1.71%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 134.90p 1.60%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,430.00p 1.20%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 767.60p 1.19%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,726.00p 1.17%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 320.60p 1.14%
BP (BP.) 469.05p 1.09%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Frasers Group (FRAS) 808.50p -9.66%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,165.00p -4.23%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,578.00p -3.93%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 659.80p -3.79%
BT Group (BT.A) 113.00p -3.34%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 117.30p -3.22%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 2,654.00p -3.00%
British Land Company (BLND) 388.30p -2.95%
SEGRO (SGRO) 789.00p -2.81%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,328.00p -2.42%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,399.00p 4.94%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 344.40p 3.86%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 140.20p 3.81%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 129.35p 3.44%
NB Private Equity Partners Ltd. (NBPE) 1,630.00p 3.16%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 82.20p 2.75%
SSP Group (SSPG) 228.70p 2.69%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 617.50p 2.57%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 184.40p 2.44%
Schroder Oriental Income Fund Ltd. (SOI) 256.00p 2.40%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Synthomer (SYNT) 121.50p -5.81%
IP Group (IPO) 59.00p -4.38%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 1,012.00p -4.17%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 80.50p -3.82%
Genuit Group (GEN) 292.50p -3.78%
ASOS (ASC) 585.00p -3.70%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 145.70p -3.64%
Drax Group (DRX) 600.50p -3.15%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 267.60p -2.90%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 920.00p -2.87%