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LONDON MARKET CLOSE: FTSE 100 slips in tepid trade at end of week

17th May 2024 16:55

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London closed lower on Friday in quiet trade, though gold and base metal miners surged on stronger commodity prices.

The FTSE 100 index ended down 18.39 points, 0.2%, at 8,420.26. The FTSE 250 closed down 72.94 points, 0.4%, at 20,749.90, and the AIM All-Share rose 1.52 points, 0.2%, at 794.02.

For the week, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.2%, the FTSE 250 rose 0.5% and the AIM All-Share added 0.5%.

The Cboe UK 100 ended down 0.2% at 840.22, the Cboe UK 250 closed flat at 18,145.02, and the Cboe Small Companies ended up 0.7% at 16,407.46.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris closed down 0.3%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt ended down 0.2%.

"Major stock indices cooled down on profit taking at the end of a week which saw new record highs being made," IG analyst Axel Rudolph commented.

"Following a week of record stock index highs in Europe and the US, with the Dow Jones Industrials Average briefly hitting the 40,000 mark, profit taking amid Fed commentary pointing to a possible 'rates for longer scenario' led to losses on Friday."

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were all marginally lower.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2696 late on Friday afternoon in London, higher compared to USD1.2671 at the equities close on Thursday. The euro stood at USD1.0866, down slightly against USD1.0870. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY155.53, higher compared to JPY155.26.

Analysts at ING commented: "In the two weeks leading to the 31 May US core [personal consumption expenditures] release, markets may experience reduced volatility. This is not necessarily bad news for the high-yielding USD."

ING believes the pound may struggle, seeing "risks skewed to the dovish side for the Bank of England".

"We continue to like the chances of a move higher in EUR/GBP as markets may increase their bets on a June rate cut," ING analysts said.

Megan Greene, who joined the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee last July, said Thursday she has noticed that "inflation persistence has waned" since her arrival.

"This is no mere coincidence - it has faded in part because of our restrictive stance of policy," Greene said.

"I think there remains more uncertainty about how much inflation persistence indeed persists than there is about how our monetary policy stance is weighing on growth. In considering for how long we must retain our restrictive stance before policy should be eased, I think the burden of proof therefore needs to lie in inflation persistence continuing to wane."

In London, shares in gold miners ended in the green, tracking bullion prices higher. Fresnillo rose 3.4%, while Hochschild Mining climbed 5.7%.

Gold was quoted at USD2,407.63 an ounce late Friday, higher against USD2,381.33 on Thursday.

Antofagasta added 3.6%, as copper also climbed. Rio Tinto rose 2.4% and Glencore grew 0.7% in what was a strong day for miners.

Brent oil was quoted at USD83.61 a barrel late in London on Friday, up from USD83.05 late Thursday.

"The biggest question mark for oil traders, and potentially the main price driver in the medium term, rests on demand forecasts. US inventories came up shorter than predicted, raising hopes of greater crude demand, but the upside created by this news was capped by uncertainty over the Chinese economy. Such doubts grew after the imposition of fresh US import tariffs on Chinese goods, feeding apprehension over demand from the world's leading crude importer. Against this background, the price of Brent looks set to remain firmly supported above the USD80 per barrel level and face resistance at USD84," ActivTrades analyst Ricardo Evangelista commented.

Back in London, Land Securities fell 2.6%. The London-based company suggested commercial property prices have begun to stabilise as investor interest picks up, given the more "balanced" outlook for interest rates.

Chief Executive Mark Allan said: "Following a reset of values over the past two years driven by rising interest rates, the stabilisation in rates and evidence of continued rental growth is starting to attract increased investor interest for the best assets."

"Around 60% of our portfolio already showed stable values in the second half and overall yields were largely stable in the final quarter, pointing to a positive outlook for our overall return on equity."

The comments came alongside results for the financial year ended March.

Pretax loss in the year narrowed to GBP341 million from GBP622 million a year prior.

EPRA earnings fell 5.6% to GBP371 million from GBP393 million a year prior, with EPRA earnings per share also down 5.6% to 50.1 pence from 53.1p.

EPRA net tangible assets per share decreased 8.2% to 859p on March 31 from 936p a year prior.

The total dividend was increased by 2.6% to 39.6p from 38.6p a year ago, in line with guidance of low single digit percentage growth.

FRP Advisory jumped 12%. In the year that ended April 30, the London-based business advisory firm said it had delivered an "excellent trading performance", adding that it was "confident for the year ahead".

FRP expects to report GBP128 million in revenue for the year, up 23% from GBP104 million a year prior.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are expected to rise 37% to GBP37 million from GBP27 million in financial 2023.

Both figures are ahead of current market consensus, FRP said, which forecast GBP123 million in revenue and GBP32 million in Ebitda.

Monday's economic calendar has a German producer price index reading at 0700 BST.

The local corporate calendar has annual results from Kainos Group, an IT services provider.

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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