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LONDON MARKET CLOSE: FTSE 100 edges higher and New York stocks jump

29th Dec 2022 16:52

(Alliance News) - London's FTSE 100 achieved a solid, though unspectacular, gain during the final full trading of the year on Thursday, with investors mindful of what an ease of Covid-19 curbs in China could mean for global inflation.

The FTSE 100 index ended up 15.53 points, or 0.2%, at 7,512.72. The FTSE 250 rose 110.95 points, or 0.6% at 18,996.45, and the AIM All-Share added 4.17 points, or 0.5%, at 836.45.

The Cboe UK 100 rose 0.1% at 750.88, the Cboe UK 250 added 0.6% at 16,459.77, and the Cboe Small Companies climbed 0.6% at 13,188.32.

The gains for London-listed large-caps were eclipsed by peers on the old continent and across the Atlantic.

In Europe, the CAC 40 index in Paris closed up 1.0%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt jumped 1.1%.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.0% at the time of the closing bell in London, the S&P 500 was up 1.6% and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.4%.

Stocks in Paris, Frankfurt and New York had struggled on Wednesday.

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam commented: "We continue to drift into year-end with investors having little to cling onto that's going to drive markets one way or another. That is so often the case this time of year and while 2022 could have been different, given how chaotic the rest of the year has been, it has proven to not be the case. Investors are going into 2023 with a cautious mindset, prepared for more rate hikes, and expecting recessions around the globe. The bar is low but arguably reasonably so."

Investors worldwide initially welcomed the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in China, but they are now becoming increasingly concerned about the ramifications of the reopening of the Chinese economy for global supply chains and inflation.

Some nations have imposed restrictions on Chinese arrivals. The US and a number of other countries announced they would require negative Covid tests for all travellers from mainland China, though the UK so far has not.

However, the UK government appeared to backtrack on its suggestion that travellers from China will not be screened for Covid after critics, including two former health ministers, called for testing to be introduced.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Thursday that the possibility of imposing restrictions on visitors from the East Asian country was "under review".

It comes after former health ministers James Bethell and Steve Brine were among those to place pressure on the government following its assertion that there were "no plans" to introduce tests for China arrivals.

London-listed miners faced selling pressure on Thursday, having initially cheered the news out of China on Wednesday. China is a major buyer of minerals.

Anglo American fell 1.0%, while Antofagasta lost 2.1%.

Also hitting Antofagasta's stock, the miner reported that access to its Los Pelambres operation in Chile is being blocked by a group of people, affecting the transport of critical supplies and personnel to the mine site.

Antofagasta explained that the group is requesting compensation to clear access but added that, to date, there has been no material impact on production.

At the other end of the large-cap index, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust rose 3.7%. The investor holds stakes in various US tech shares, which traded higher on Thursday.

Ferrexpo extended declines, losing 3.0% after a 4.9% drop on Wednesday. The iron ore pellet producer noted that Non-Executive Director Kostyantin Zhevago, who owns over 50% of the firm, has been detained by the French authorities.

Ferrexpo said that it believes this is for matters unrelated to the firm, but said it would week to clarify the situation and update as appropriate.

Applied Graphene extended gains. The AIM listing added a 34% rise to its 20% share price hike from Wednesday.

On Wednesday, it said it received non-binding indicative proposals for its sale or the sale of its main operating subsidiary.

The Cleveland, England-based graphene materials maker said it is in discussions with the parties involved and expects final proposals in early January. After this, the board would then select a preferred bidder to progress with. Applied added that there can be no certainty any final proposals will be made, nor the terms of any proposals made.

Allergy Therapeutics plunged 56% after it said its shares will be suspended from trading next week, due to delays in completing the audit of its annual results.

Back in September, Allergy Therapeutics announced its unaudited preliminary results for the financial year that ended June 30. It sunk to a pretax loss of GBP12.7 million from a profit of GBP3.7 million the year prior. Revenue dropped to GBP72.8 million from GBP84.3 million.

"It is not aware of any material change that will be required to be made to the results, and it is actively working to finalise the audit and publication of its annual report and accounts," Allergy Therapeutics said.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2057 at the time of the London equities close on Thursday, up compared to USD1.2029 at the close on Wednesday. The euro stood at USD1.0661, higher against USD1.0617. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY133.31, lower compared to JPY134.23.

Brent oil was quoted at USD82.78 a barrel in London on Thursday, down slightly from USD82.87 late Wednesday. Gold was quoted at USD1,811.91 an ounce, higher against USD1,801.04.

Friday's economic calendar has a UK Nationwide house price index reading at 0700 GMT. Financial markets in London will close early at 1230 GMT on Friday.

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

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