London midday: Stocks maintain gains as housebuilders rise, miners fall
London equity markets were still a little higher by midday on Monday, with strength in the housebuilding sector helping to offset weak mining stocks after disappointing Chinese data.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 7,086.90.
Figures released earlier by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that China’s export growth slowed more than expected in May. Exports rose 27.9% year-on-year in May, down from 32.3% growth the month before and coming in below consensus expectations for 32.1% growth.
Imports rose 51.1% compared to a 43.1% increase in April. This marked the fastest growth in a decade but was below expectations for a 53.5% jump.
The unadjusted trade surplus ticked up to $45.5bn in May from a revised $42.9bn in April, coming in below consensus expectations of $50.7bn.
Investors were also mulling comments by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said over the weekend that higher interest rates would be a "plus" for the US.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "While this seems a perfectly logical and reasonable statement, it contains a hint of menace for the markets given what rising rates normally mean for the performance of equities.
"This hint of menace might become something more genuinely frightening for investors if it is followed by a high level of inflation when the US figures are published later this week.
"Very quickly the issue of rising prices and their impact on monetary policy could become front and centre again, after being pushed to the back of the market’s mind by a US jobs report on Friday which, while not terrible, presented a fragile enough picture of employment to suggest the US Federal Reserve would maintain low rates and financial stimulus for longer."
In equity markets, Royal Mail rallied following reports it will offer timed delivery slots next year as it looks to compete with Amazon.
Housebuilders were the top performers after the latest survey from Halifax showed that house prices hit another record high in May, with annual growth up 9.5%. On the month, house prices were up 1.3%.
The sector was also boosted by a note from Liberum, which upgraded Taylor Wimpey to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ and said Persimmon was still its large-cap "top pick".
Elsewhere, consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser edged down as it agreed to sell its baby formula business in China to the private equity firm Primavera for $2.2bn.
Miners were among the biggest losers after the Chinese trade data and as base metals prices fell, with Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore all lower.
Workspace provider IWG tumbled after it warned that underlying earnings for 2021 were set to be "well below" the previous year’s level due to the prolonged impact of Covid-related restrictions in some of its markets.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Royal Mail (RMG) 611.80p 3.52%
Persimmon (PSN) 3,245.00p 2.98%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 175.95p 2.65%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 774.20p 2.43%
BT Group (BT.A) 180.70p 2.09%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,774.00p 2.05%
Barclays (BARC) 187.46p 1.90%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 3,760.00p 1.90%
WPP (WPP) 1,014.00p 1.66%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 283.60p 1.61%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Anglo American (AAL) 3,172.00p -2.53%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,534.00p -2.01%
Fresnillo (FRES) 858.40p -1.94%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,441.00p -1.71%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,676.50p -1.53%
Glencore (GLEN) 326.65p -0.94%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 6,352.00p -0.92%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,522.00p -0.74%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,220.00p -0.57%
Renishaw (RSW) 5,550.00p -0.54%
FTSE 250 - Risers
NCC Group (NCC) 303.00p 4.48%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 459.80p 3.75%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 2,130.00p 2.90%
Redrow (RDW) 697.20p 2.83%
Bellway (BWY) 3,684.00p 2.79%
National Express Group (NEX) 294.40p 2.36%
Vistry Group (VTY) 1,330.50p 2.31%
AJ Bell (AJB) 445.80p 2.29%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 2,200.00p 2.18%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 3,185.00p 2.08%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
IWG (IWG) 316.00p -13.78%
Chemring Group (CHG) 313.00p -2.80%
Energean (ENOG) 806.50p -2.66%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 386.30p -2.15%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 195.30p -2.01%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 91.26p -1.91%
Avon Rubber (AVON) 2,888.00p -1.90%
Rank Group (RNK) 194.00p -1.72%
C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 244.40p -1.29%
888 Holdings (888) 400.00p -1.28%