London open: Stocks flat as investors pause for breath
London stocks were flat in early trade on Wednesday as investors paused for breath after recent losses, with the prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates continuing to weigh on sentiment.
At 0835 BST, the FTSE 100 was steady at 7,627.45. Overnight, stocks on Wall Street slid after weak consumer confidence and home sales data added to concerns about the US economy.
Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "There may be a small pause for breath on Wall Street after the steepest sell off since March, but sentiment is unlikely to improve markedly signs of deteriorating confidence, while inflation remains off target.
"This week’s data points to weakening optimism about economic prospects, with new home sales in August falling 8.7%, a bigger drop than expected. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index also marked up a bigger fall in sentiment than expected. The unfortunate collision of disappointing data and stubborn inflation is causing a bout of anxiety which doesn’t look easy to calm. 10-year US Treasury yields have been pushed to the highest levels since 2007 as investors assess the prospects that interest rates will be forced to stay higher for longer, with fewer cuts anticipated next year."
In equity markets, property developer Land Securities lost ground even as it reported a rise in lettings over the first five months of the financial year as demand for office space held up, despite rising interest rates.
British Land, Derwent London and Great Portland Estates were all knocked lower by rating downgrades at Jefferies.
On the upside, IMI was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 as JPMorgan said in a research note on the European capital goods sector that it was among the stocks to own for the balance of the year.
Ithaca Energy surged after the UK oil and gas regulator gave the green light for the development of the Rosebank oil and gas field in the North Sea, in which it has a 20% working interest.
Gambling company Flutter Entertainment was up after saying it had bought a 51% stake in Serbia's MaxBet for €141m (£123m), with an option to acquire the remaining 49% in 2029 based on performance.
Wizz Air flew higher after an upgrade to ‘hold’ from ‘sell’ at Liberum. "Recent share price weakness has seen our target price hit and left the valuation more reflective of the risks and rewards," said analyst Gerald Khoo.
FTSE 100 - Risers
IMI (IMI) 1,548.00p 3.34%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 147.25p 1.17%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 13,760.00p 0.77%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 11,242.00p 0.70%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 9,304.00p 0.67%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 806.50p 0.62%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,092.00p 0.58%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,262.00p 0.53%
Next (NXT) 7,460.00p 0.48%
Sage Group (SGE) 1,005.50p 0.45%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Centrica (CNA) 159.75p -3.85%
RS Group (RS1) 723.20p -3.44%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 591.60p -2.25%
Unite Group (UTG) 906.50p -1.47%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 217.20p -1.14%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 674.60p -1.03%
Fresnillo (FRES) 557.40p -0.92%
National Grid (NG.) 997.20p -0.83%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 223.40p -0.80%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,661.00p -0.78%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ithaca Energy (ITH) 175.70p 7.66%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,384.50p 3.32%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,969.50p 2.71%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 121.40p 2.36%
Impax Environmental Markets (IEM) 366.00p 2.23%
IWG (IWG) 149.10p 2.05%
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust (JMG) 104.80p 1.55%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 673.00p 1.51%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 124.80p 1.46%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 84.00p 1.20%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Drax Group (DRX) 421.50p -4.23%
Great Portland Estates (GPE) 414.40p -4.03%
Keller Group (KLR) 750.00p -3.23%
Petershill Partners (PHLL) 146.80p -3.04%
AJ Bell (AJB) 275.80p -2.27%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 164.85p -2.05%
Rathbones Group (RAT) 1,746.00p -2.02%
British Land Company (BLND) 320.50p -1.93%
Tyman (TYMN) 280.50p -1.92%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 961.00p -1.89%