London open: Stocks little changed as investors digest GDP
London stocks were little changed in early trade on Friday as investors digested better-than-expected UK GDP data.
At 0840 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.1% at 7,554.28, while sterling was up 0.2% against the dollar at 1.3733.
According to figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics, the economy recovered to above pre-pandemic levels in November.
GDP grew 0.9%, up from 0.2% in October and coming in ahead of expectations for 0.4% growth. That left the economy 0.7% above its level in February 2020, just before the first wave of the pandemic hit.
ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: "The economy grew strongly in the month before Omicron struck with architects, retailers, couriers and accountants having a bumper month.
"Construction also recovered from several weak months, as many raw materials became easier to get hold of.
"This meant that monthly GDP exceeded its pre-pandemic level for the first time in November."
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that "with Omicron expected to be a short sharp shock rather than a lingering malaise, this November snapshot is likely to be taken as more evidence that once infection rates subside the economy will be in good enough shape to withstand further interest rate rises, to keep a lid on soaring inflation".
"However, there are also indications that supply chain snarl ups may have eased, with car output rising and construction materials reportedly easier to source, which could help limit the rise in prices to some extent."
In equity markets, electricals retailer Currys slumped after it reported a fall in sales over the peak Christmas period as a tough comparator year, uneven customer demand and supply disruption hit revenues.
Credit-checking firm Experian lost ground even as it posted a 14% rise in third-quarter revenue, driven by growth across all geographical units as it lifted annual guidance.
Discount retailer B&M European Value Retail was under the cosh after SSA Investments sold 40m shares in the company - a 4% stake - in a placing.
On the upside, Cineworld gained after saying it had successfully generated positive cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2021 thanks to steady growth in performances and attendances over the period.
Housebuilder Berkeley Group was lifted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ at Deutsche Bank.
FTSE 100 - Risers
3i Group (III) 1,434.00p 1.88%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,563.00p 1.72%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 200.70p 1.39%
Relx plc (REL) 2,211.00p 1.14%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 516.00p 0.90%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 689.60p 0.70%
WPP (WPP) 1,195.50p 0.67%
Barclays (BARC) 218.50p 0.64%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,204.50p 0.58%
BP (BP.) 386.00p 0.55%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Mail (RMG) 504.60p -4.10%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 574.40p -3.72%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,148.50p -2.71%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 1,121.00p -2.01%
Experian (EXPN) 3,102.00p -1.62%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,929.00p -1.61%
Rightmove (RMV) 714.00p -1.60%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,496.00p -1.51%
Halma (HLMA) 2,743.00p -1.33%
Croda International (CRDA) 8,482.00p -1.28%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Renishaw (RSW) 4,750.00p 4.12%
Reach (RCH) 276.50p 2.22%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 333.20p 1.96%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 270.80p 1.42%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 39.34p 1.42%
SSP Group (SSPG) 273.40p 1.41%
TP Icap Group (TCAP) 155.40p 1.37%
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs (HVPE) 2,920.00p 1.04%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 345.60p 0.99%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 123.80p 0.98%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Currys (CURY) 106.20p -5.52%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 297.40p -4.25%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 327.00p -3.02%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 939.00p -2.80%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 265.80p -2.49%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 227.60p -2.32%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 1,216.00p -2.25%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,570.00p -2.18%
Diploma (DPLM) 2,916.00p -2.15%
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 510.50p -2.11%