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LONDON MARKET CLOSE: Europe down after Easter holiday weekend

2nd Apr 2024 16:57

(Alliance News) - The FTSE 100 took a hit on Tuesday, after a boost from London's miners and oil firms were not enough to lift the index.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 17.53 points, 0.2%, at 7,935.09. The FTSE 250 ended down 170.84 points, 0.9%, at 19,713.89, and the AIM All-Share closed down 0.86 of a point, 0.1%, at 742.40.

The Cboe UK 100 ended down 0.3% at 793.40, the Cboe UK 250 closed down 1.1% at 17,147.56, and the Cboe Small Companies ended down slightly at 14,553.13.

In European equities on Tuesday, the CAC 40 in Paris ended down 0.9%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt ended down 1.1%.

After a long Easter weekend, markets reopened on Tuesday to a busy day on the corporate and economic calendar.

Data from S&P Global on Tuesday showed the UK manufacturing sector crossing the no-change mark into growth territory in March.

The seasonally adjusted S&P Global UK manufacturing purchasing managers' index reading was 50.3 points in March, up from 47.5 in February and beating the earlier flash estimate of 49.9.

The latest figure was above the 50-point no-change mark, meaning the UK manufacturing sector returned to growth territory.

PMI data from the eurozone was more disheartening, however.

The latest Hamburg Commercial Bank manufacturing PMI fell to 46.1 points in March, from 46.5 in February. The latest reading was a three-month low, but topped the flash estimate of 45.7 points.

Hamburg Commercial Bank analyst Cyrus de la Rubia commented: "It's a bit disheartening: over the last eight months, the manufacturing industry has been gradually climbing the output PMI ladder, but it still finds itself on the basement staircase."

More positively for the eurozone, Germany saw inflation ease in March.

The consumer price index rose by 2.2% annually in March, ebbing from a 2.5% rise in February. This came in line with FXStreet-cited market consensus and is the lowest value since April 2021.

Analysts at ING said: "despite the early timing of Easter this year, prices for leisure, packaged holidays and hotels and restaurants rose less than expected month-on-month than expected. The Easter bunny effect, ie the base effect stemming from the timing of Easter, was hardly visible this year."

The pound was quoted at USD1.2564 at the London equities close Tuesday, lower compared to USD1.2640 at the close on Thursday. The euro stood at USD1.0771 at the European equities close Tuesday, down against USD1.0803 at the same time on Thursday. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY151.60, up compared to JPY151.29 late Thursday.

In the FTSE 100, miners were among the better large-cap performers. Fresnillo, Anglo American, Glencore, and Rio Tinto traded 7.6%, 4.6%, 3.0%, and 2.0% higher respectively.

The miners got a boost from the latest set of PMI data from China. Monthly factory activity in China grew for the first time in half a year, official figures showed, in a positive sign for policymakers seeking to revive the world's second-largest economy.

The PMI came in at 50.8 points in March, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, up from 49.1 in February. The last expansion in China's monthly PMI was in September, with factory activity consistently negative since then, according to NBS data.

The trend of improvement was confirmed by the Caixin manufacturing PMI, which edged up to 51.1 from 50.9.

Oil firms also did well on Tuesday, on the back of higher oil prices. Shell and BP rose 3.2% and 2.5% respectively.

Brent oil was quoted at USD88.11 a barrel at the London equities close Tuesday, up from USD86.56 late Thursday.

"The ongoing rise in oil prices amid a tighter supply outlook is a worry for corporates and consumers as it is a major inflationary force," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

On the other hand, housebuilders were in the red. Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, and Barratt Developments lost 3.1%, 3.5%, and 0.1%, respectively.

They were hit by a fall in house prices in the most recent month.

The Nationwide house price index showed a 0.2% decline in seasonally adjusted UK house prices in March from February, compared to a 0.7% rise in February from January. According to FXStreet, market consensus expected the house price index to rise 0.3% last month.

Annually, the house price index rose 1.6% in March compared to a year ago, improving from an annual rise of 1.2% in February, but undershooting FXStreet-cited expectations of a 2.4% rise.

Elsewhere in London, on AIM, Orcadian Energy surged 86%.

The oil and gas development company said it has completed the farm-out of 81% interest in Licence P2244, which contains the Pilot field, to Ping Petroleum UK PLC. Ping is focused on shallow water offshore production, and has a significant acreage holding to the East of Pilot.

On the other hand, Redx Pharma plummeted 65%, after it said it intends to cancel its shares from trading on AIM in London.

The clinical-stage biotechnology company said the board unanimously concluded that it is in the best interests of the company to re-register as a private limited company, as it is "still liquidity constrained" on AIM.

Chair Jane Griffith said: "The board believes that as a private company we can access a broader universe of specialty investors and, accordingly, a larger quantum of future funding required to execute our strategy and maximise our value in the interests of all our shareholders."

Stocks in New York were lower at the London equities close, with the DJIA down 1.1%, the S&P 500 index down 0.9%, and the Nasdaq Composite down 1.2%.

Gold was quoted at USD2,266.55 an ounce at the London equities close Tuesday, up against USD2,221.01 at the close on Thursday.

In Wednesday's UK corporate calendar, there are full year results from Hilton Food, Impax Environmental Markets, and Pantheon Infrastructure.

The economic calendar for Wednesday has unemployment and CPI data from the eurozone out at 1000 BST.

There are also a number of Federal Reserve members who are scheduled to speak, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Vice Chair Michale Barr, Governor Michelle Bowman, and Governor Adriana Kugler.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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