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LONDON MARKET CLOSE: Pound jumps above USD1.26 mark on Black Friday

24th Nov 2023 16:56

(Alliance News) - Global markets saw a lacklustre session this Black Friday, with European markets edging just slightly higher.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 4.62 points, 0.1%, at 7,488.20. The FTSE 250 ended down 22.73 points, 0.1%, at 18,458.10, and the AIM All-Share closed down 1.18 points, or 0.2%, at 716.90. Over the past week they are down 0.2%, 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively.

The Cboe UK 100 ended up slightly at 747.65, the Cboe UK 250 closed up 0.1% at 15,994.54, and the Cboe Small Companies ended down 0.3% at 13,447.36.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX 40 in Frankfurt both ended up 0.2%.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2605 at the London equities close Friday, higher compared to USD1.2542 at the close on Thursday. The euro stood at USD1.0935 at the European equities close Friday, up against USD1.0909 at the same time on Thursday. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY149.59, up compared to JPY149.49 late Thursday.

The pound on Friday jumped above the USD1.26 mark, thanks to some strong economic data on Thursday and Friday.

"Yesterday’s UK PMI survey report saw a surprise move back into expansion territory, with markets reacting by lifting expectations of a rate hike (22%) in the first quarter," said Scope Markets Joshua Mahony.

On Thursday, the S&P Global/CIPS flash UK flash composite purchasing managers' index rose to 50.1 points in November, from 48.7 in October. This marked a four-month-high and represents growth, edging above the no-change 50.0 mark.

There was more good news for the UK on Friday, with figures showing that UK consumer confidence bounced back in November.

GfK's long-running consumer confidence index rose by six points, although it still languished at minus 24. Confidence in the general economy over the next 12 months also increased by six points to minus 26 points. This is 32 points higher than a year ago.

This has given retailers much needed encouragement amid the key Black Friday weekend and the run-up to Christmas.

Retailers were amongst the best performers on Black Friday. Kingfisher and Tesco were both up 1.4% and B&M edged up 1.2%. Clothing retailers also edged higher, with Frasers, Next and JD Sports were up 0.6%, 0.5% and 0.4%

Markets its New York reopened on Friday for a shorter session, following them being closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Stocks in New York were mixed at the London equities close, with the DJIA up 0.3%, the S&P 500 index down marginally, and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.3%.

In other news, oil prices were regaining composure on Friday after dropping following the unexplained postponement of the Opec+ meeting. The key ministerial gathering of the oil-producing alliance was pushed back from Sunday to next Thursday.

"Moves in commodity prices have been fairly muted on the week, but this masks a dramatic mid-week plunge and recovery in oil prices," said Capital Economics Caroline Bain.

Brent oil was quoted at USD81.47 a barrel at the London equities close Friday, up from USD80.65 late Thursday. In the past week, brent has hit lows of USD76.57 and highs of USD82.89.

Bain added: "We think that the most likely outcome of the meeting is that Russia and Saudi Arabia extend their voluntary cuts into January. If we are right, oil prices will find support at current levels, but are unlikely to make gains."

Developments in the Middle East could also affect the trajectory of oil prices, as the four-day truce between Israel and Hamas begins.

Oil majors BP and Shell closed higher on the oil price recovery, up 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively.

Elsewhere in the FTSE 100, Barclays rose 1.1%.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Barclays is working on restructuring plans that could involve cutting as many as 2,000 jobs to save GBP1 billion.

The job cuts would be mostly in the London-based bank's back office, Reuters said, citing "a person with direct knowledge of the proposals".

Sage Group was among the index's worst performers, down 2.7%. Canaccord cut the stock of the entreprise software firm to 'sell' from hold'

On AIM, Team17 plummeted 46%.

The Wakefield, England-based developer of video games, educational entertainment apps for children, and working simulation games said it now expects full-year adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of at least GBP28.5 million, including non-cash title impairments of up to GBP11.5 million.

In 2022, it achieved an adjusted Ebitda of GBP48.8 million.

Team17 said this resulted from it being "too slow to address some project overspends" and delays on key cost initiatives, as well as some of its games not selling as well as it had originally expected.

Gold was quoted at USD1,999.98 an ounce at the London equities close Friday, higher against USD1,992.02 at the close on Thursday.

In Monday's UK corporate calendar, Rightmove will publish a trading statement. On Tuesday there are full year results from easyJet.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, the economic calendar has the US consumer confidence index. Also on Tuesday, there is the UK Zoopla house price index and shop price index overnight.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

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