London midday: Stocks nudge higher in quiet trade
London stocks were still just a touch higher by midday on Thursday amid fairly quiet trade, with US markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,293.53.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: "The quiet Thanksgiving Day session in global markets has seen European indices edge slightly higher, taking their cue from a better finish to the day yesterday, especially in the US where the usual pre-holiday buying helped to lift stocks from the lows seen earlier in the session.
"With an empty calendar before us markets will find it hard to make much headway, but at least the pound and euro might get some respite after the avalanche of selling they have suffered as everyone piles into the US dollar in expectation of a move to higher interest rates in the US. But any breathing space will be brief, since yesterday’s claims and Fed minutes have given a further indication that a rate hike will be on the cards for 2022, barring any deterioration in the data in the first half of the year."
On home shores, the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed retail sales were at their strongest level for this time of year in November.
The CBI’s monthly retail sales balance rose to a three-month high of +39 from +30 in October and is expected to pick up again in December. However, the survey also found that selling prices grew at the fastest pace since May 1990 and are expected to rise at a broadly similar pace next month.
CBI lead economist Ben Jones said: "Christmas seems to have come early for retailers, with clothing and department stores in particular seeing a big upward swing in sales volumes in November.
"It seems likely that reports of supply chain disruptions prompted consumers to start their Christmas shopping early. And there are encouraging signs that retailers’ efforts to help avoid any festive disappointments may be paying off, with stock levels seen as adequate for the first time in seven months.
"Overall, retailers are becoming more optimistic, with both employment growth and investment intentions picking up strongly. Cost pressures remain a very real concern, however, with selling prices growing at the fastest pace since 1990."
In equity markets, Hochschild Mining surged after the Peruvian government U-turned on a decision to close the company’s mines if legal requirements were met. Investors dumped the stock on Monday after Lima said four mines in Peru’s southern Ayacucho region, which included Hochschild’s flagship Inmaculada operation, would be closed as soon as possible.
However, it quickly switched tack on Wednesday after talks with the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy.
InterContinental Hotels and Whitbread were both high risers after rating upgrades at Jefferies.
Vivo Energy shot higher after agreeing to be taken over by Vitol Investment in a deal worth around $2.3bn.
Outsourcer Capita was lifted by an upgrade to ‘outperform’ at RBC Capital Markets and .Britvic was boosted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Societe Generale.
Pub chain Mitchells & Butlers was in the black as it said it returned to profit after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted but it also warned that rising energy costs and wages would affect its results in the current year.
On the downside, Renishaw and Spectris were both knocked lower by rating downgrades at Morgan Stanley.
Hill & Smith lost ground even as it said it expects annual profit to meet market expectations after "robust" trading in the previous four months.
FTSE 100 - Risers
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,046.00p 2.83%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,577.00p 2.74%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,585.00p 2.23%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,085.00p 2.02%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 136.90p 1.39%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,484.50p 1.37%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,490.50p 1.26%
Informa (INF) 516.20p 1.26%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 6,236.00p 1.23%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 756.60p 1.18%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 113.16p -3.92%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,733.50p -2.28%
Rightmove (RMV) 742.80p -1.80%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,593.00p -1.48%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,122.50p -1.19%
Entain (ENT) 1,804.00p -1.18%
Kingfisher (KGF) 325.20p -0.97%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,115.00p -0.94%
Next (NXT) 8,076.00p -0.91%
Halma (HLMA) 2,935.00p -0.81%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Vivo Energy (VVO) 133.00p 19.39%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 141.70p 16.15%
Capita (CPI) 47.68p 7.15%
Genus (GNS) 4,984.00p 5.46%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 245.20p 3.90%
National Express Group (NEX) 223.80p 3.52%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 219.60p 2.81%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 20.84p 2.76%
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 541.00p 2.66%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 412.20p 2.38%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,758.00p -5.79%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,728.00p -5.36%
Spectris (SXS) 3,535.00p -3.70%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 236.00p -3.48%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 226.50p -3.00%
Mitie Group (MTO) 66.00p -2.08%
Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 104.60p -2.06%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 201.40p -2.04%
Coats Group (COA) 64.70p -1.97%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 975.00p -1.91%