London midday: Stocks trade mixed as pound blasts higher
London stocks were mixed come midday on Wednesday as investors reacted poorly to results from US technology giants Alphabet and Microsoft overnight, with losses in Barclays and Standard Chartered in focus on home turf.
At 1202 BST, the FTSE 100 was off by 0.40% to 6,985.32, while the second-tier index was adding 0.68% to 17,952.23.
In remarks to BBC Radio, Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said the Prime Minister may need a bit more time, beyond the following Monday, to present the government's medium-term economic blueprint given recent changes at Downing Street.
“I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to stick with that, but we do know that people want to have certainty,” he said.
The Treasury had made no comments thus far as regards a possible delay or not.
That was however no obstacle for the pound to blast its way 1.1579 for a 0.93% gain on the day, having earlier hit 1.1620. In parallel, Gilt yields were up a tad.
Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: "European markets are trading around the flatline as investors digest a raft of corporate earnings from the UK, continental Europe, and the US.
"In the United States, earnings across sectors appeared to confirm fears of a growth slowdown facing corporate America highlighting worries about a recession and further weakness for equity markets ahead. A disappointing update from Google’s parent company Alphabet highlighted the pressures facing the digital ad sector as the US economy begins to show signs of weakness, and also pointed to the stiff competition for eyeballs particularly among fickle social media users who are currently fixated on their latest obsession, TikTok."
In equity markets, banks were in focus after results from Barclays and Standard Chartered.
Barclays was trading down even as it reported a better-than-expected rise in third-quarter profits despite a sharp jump in bad loan charges as consumers started to feel the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
StanChart was also lower despite posting an estimate-beating 40% increase in third-quarter profit and lifting its annual outlook.
WPP was under the cosh even as the advertising giant lifted its revenue forecast for the full year and reported a 10% increase in third-quarter revenue.
Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser fell even as it narrowed its sales target and posted a jump in third-quarter revenues despite "challenging" market conditions.
Transport operator FirstGroup was in the red after saying it expects to receive $85m from EQT’s sale of First Transit.
Software, security and cloud services specialist Bytes Technology slumped despite reporting a rise in first-half profit and revenues amid growth across all areas of the business.
On the upside, AstraZeneca rallied as it said its capivasertib breast cancer drug combined with Faslodex hormone treatment demonstrated a “statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement” in progression-free patient (PFS) survival during a late-stage trial.
Hochschild climbed as the silver and gold miner announced a major discovery at its Pallancata deposit in Southern Peru and said it was on course to meet full-year production after its third quarter turned out to be the strongest quarter so far this year.
Specialty chemicals company Elementis rose after it backed its full-year outlook and said trading in the third quarter had been in line.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 734.80p 2.88%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,178.00p 2.75%
Kingfisher (KGF) 217.90p 2.20%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 378.70p 2.08%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 9,921.00p 1.72%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 294.80p 1.59%
Rightmove (RMV) 496.70p 1.49%
Centrica (CNA) 69.50p 1.46%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,885.00p 1.41%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 2,684.00p 1.36%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 5,674.00p -4.89%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,877.00p -3.92%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 533.00p -3.86%
Diageo (DGE) 3,518.00p -3.07%
WPP (WPP) 749.60p -2.60%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 747.80p -2.43%
Unilever (ULVR) 3,832.50p -2.39%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,561.00p -2.33%
Haleon (HLN) 266.95p -2.25%
SEGRO (SGRO) 784.80p -1.65%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 63.80p 10.76%
Synthomer (SYNT) 114.60p 8.83%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 840.00p 7.14%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 814.00p 5.71%
W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 83.90p 5.53%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,489.00p 5.38%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 1,795.00p 4.91%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 185.90p 4.67%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 3,585.00p 4.52%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 108.70p 4.32%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 389.80p -11.00%
Man Group (EMG) 212.70p -2.74%
FirstGroup (FGP) 106.60p -2.29%
Britvic (BVIC) 724.00p -1.76%
Polar Capital Technology Trust (PCT) 1,910.00p -1.55%
Warehouse Reit (WHR) 122.60p -1.45%
JPMorgan American Inv Trust (JAM) 718.00p -1.37%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,279.00p -1.31%
Softcat (SCT) 1,171.00p -1.26%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 782.50p -1.26%