London midday: Stocks steady, pound down after inflation data
London stocks were still little changed by midday on Wednesday after data showed that UK inflation hit a fresh 40-year high in April.
The FTSE 100 was down just 0.1 at 7,513.94, while sterling was 0.7% weaker against the dollar at 1.2406.
Figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed the headline consumer price index rose to 9% in April form 7% in March after energy prices surged. This is the highest reading since comparable readings in 1982, although the figure was also marginally below consensus expectations of 9.1%.
Including owner occupiers’ housing costs, the index rose by 7.8% in the 12 months to April, from 6.2% in March.
The largest upward contribution to annual CPIH inflation was housing and household services, which includes electricity, gas and other fuels. In April, the energy bills rose by 54% in response to surging wholesale prices.
Transport costs also weighed heavily, rising 1.47 percentage points as the cost of motor fuels continue to rise.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the FTSE was adrift with little sense of direction "as investors digested the implications of rising prices on consumer behaviour and demand for goods".
In equity markets, Experian fell even as the credit-checking firm posted a jump in full-year profit and revenue and highlighted significant progress in consumer services.
Darktrace tumbled after a senior director of the cyber security specialist was linked to the legal row over Autonomy’s sale to Hewlett Packard. According to The Telegraph, Justice Robert Hildyard - in a judgement handed down on Tuesday - found that Autonomy’s central management had pulled on accounting "levers" to misrepresent how well the business was fairing ahead of its 2011 sale to the US tech firm.
Nicole Eagan, then Autonomy's chief marketing officer, was named as "part of a clique responsible with the defendants of the operation of the impugned levels".
Tui was under the cosh after the travel company placed162.3m shares at €2.62 each.
Going the other way, property group British Land rallied after saying it swung back into the black after three consecutive years of losses.
Burberry gained as the luxury retailer posted a rise in 2022 fiscal year profits and revenues but said its full-year outlook hinged on how fast China bounced back from Covid-19 lockdowns.
Reckitt Benckiser was boosted by an upgrade to ‘outperform’ from ‘sector perform’ at RBC Capital Markets, while WH Smith rose after an upgrade to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan.
Molten metal flow engineer Vesuvius was up after saying that its sales performance in the first four months of the year was stronger than expected.
Media publisher Future and Mr Kipling and Oxo owner Premier Foods were both higher after well-received results, while housebuilder Vistry advanced after saying 2022 profits were set to be at the top end of market forecasts.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 84.67p 4.26%
British Land Company (BLND) 527.60p 4.15%
Entain (ENT) 1,408.50p 2.62%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 761.20p 2.50%
Aviva (AV.) 415.00p 2.30%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 471.10p 2.10%
SSE (SSE) 1,916.50p 1.91%
Pearson (PSON) 772.20p 1.82%
BP (BP.) 428.70p 1.77%
Royal Mail (RMG) 349.80p 1.75%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Experian (EXPN) 2,557.00p -4.20%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 777.20p -2.87%
Tesco (TSCO) 272.40p -2.12%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,417.00p -2.01%
Fresnillo (FRES) 764.20p -1.82%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,167.00p -1.80%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,534.00p -1.76%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 305.70p -1.70%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 10,318.00p -1.62%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,765.00p -1.40%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Premier Foods (PFD) 115.40p 8.26%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 354.00p 7.01%
Vistry Group (VTY) 858.50p 6.85%
Coats Group (COA) 76.60p 6.24%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,581.50p 5.12%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 179.60p 4.66%
Drax Group (DRX) 821.00p 4.32%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 118.60p 4.22%
Redde Northgate (REDD) 383.50p 4.21%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 3,320.00p 3.91%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Darktrace (DARK) 332.70p -12.68%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 218.20p -11.30%
Greencore Group (CDI) (GNC) 104.00p -5.80%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 111.00p -2.80%
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 430.40p -1.82%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 499.00p -1.58%
Quilter (QLT) 125.80p -1.49%
Ninety One (N91) 245.00p -1.45%
LXI Reit (LXI) 142.20p -1.39%
Clipper Logistics (CLG) 853.00p -1.04%