London midday: Stocks little changed ahead of US data
London stocks were just a touch firmer by midday on Friday as investors continued to mull a better-than-expected US GDP reading a day earlier and looked ahead to the release of inflation figures.
The FTSE 100 was up just 0.1% at 7,772.31.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "Despite a good showing on Wall Street last night thanks to better-than-expected US GDP figures, Friday was a damp squib for European stocks, with little change on the main indices."
On the macro front later, investors will eye the release of the latest US personal consumption index - the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation - at 1330 GMT.
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) 7,772.31 0.14%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,913.46 -0.01%
techMARK (TASX) 4,418.87 -0.25%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 248.70p 3.88%
Shell (SHEL) 2,390.50p 2.09%
BP (BP.) 494.20p 2.07%
Beazley (BEZ) 674.00p 1.74%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,431.50p 1.71%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,433.00p 1.63%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,352.00p 1.59%
Unite Group (UTG) 1,006.00p 1.41%
GSK (GSK) 1,422.40p 1.22%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 768.00p 1.19%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 109.60p -3.42%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,400.00p -2.05%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,390.00p -2.02%
Diageo (DGE) 3,405.50p -1.92%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,787.50p -0.97%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 351.10p -0.96%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,254.00p -0.96%
Halma (HLMA) 2,118.00p -0.94%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,125.00p -0.92%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 501.40p -0.91%
FTSE 250 - Risers
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 117.80p 4.25%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 145.20p 3.35%
OSB Group (OSB) 545.00p 3.12%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 171.20p 2.76%
Tritax Eurobox (GBP) (EBOX) 68.50p 2.39%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 314.80p 2.21%
Great Portland Estates (GPE) 565.00p 2.17%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 456.20p 2.06%
Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 596.50p 1.97%
Ascential (ASCL) 261.80p 1.95%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 155.90p -4.36%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 250.50p -3.65%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 116.10p -3.25%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 253.80p -2.61%
Hammerson (HMSO) 27.25p -2.61%
Coats Group (COA) 71.00p -2.61%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,925.00p -2.50%
Mitie Group (MTO) 81.40p -2.16%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 148.80p -2.11%
JPMorgan Indian Investment Trust (JII) 804.00p -1.95%