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LONDON MARKET CLOSE: Stocks close up on busy corporate day

9th Nov 2023 16:52

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London closed higher on Thursday, after a "mixed bag" of company updates and earnings.

The FTSE 100 index close up 53.95 points, 0.7%, at 7,455.67. The FTSE 250 ended up 191.59 points, 1.1%, at 18,037.85, and the AIM All-Share closed up 0.4%, or 2.58 points, at 704.26.

The Cboe UK 100 ended up 0.7% at 744.44, the Cboe UK 250 closed up 0.9% at 15,638.28, and the Cboe Small Companies ended down 0.8% at 12,831.08.

Stocks in New York were mixed at the London equities close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1%. However, the S&P 500 index was up 0.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.2%.

The US Federal Reserve is likely done raising interest rates to tackle inflation but probably will not cut them "in the short term," a senior policymaker said Wednesday.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker told a conference in Evanston, Illinois, that he felt holding interest rates at their current, restrictive, level was the right course of action.

Harker spoke after remarks from Fed Chair Powell. Investors were hoping for some guidance from Powell on Wednesday, but he gave little away about interest rates. He did not comment on the outlook for the US economy, either.

Powell speaks again at 1900 GMT on Thursday.

Eyes have also been on data from China. The country slipped back into deflation in October, highlighting the work officials have in reviving still-sluggish demand in the world's number two economy.

The consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, fell 0.2% on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The index had been unchanged year-on-year in September and edged up 0.1% in August.

Looking ahead, BBH Currency Strategy said: "The economy is likely to continue struggling with deflation well into next year, as modest stimulus measures taken so far are already starting to wear off. With rising risks of persistent deflationary pressures, we expect further stimulus measures in the coming months."

The pound was quoted at 1.2275 at the London equities close Thursday, down compared to USD1.2300 at the close on Wednesday. The euro stood at USD1.0709 at the European equities close Thursday, up slightly against USD1.0707 at the same time on Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY151.00, up compared to JPY150.83 late Wednesday.

There has been a slew of corporate news over Thursday, with a mix of earnings and trading updates.

"The market has been flooded with corporate news and to call the results and trading updates a mixed bag is putting it lightly," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

In the FTSE 100 index, Flutter Entertainment fell 10%.

For the third quarter of 2023, the Dublin-based sports betting and gambling company said revenue increased 7.6% to GBP2.04 billion from GBP1.89 billion, although it preferred to highlight the constant currency growth of 13%.

Flutter, which owns Paddy Power, also said it is "making good progress" towards securing a US listing on the New York Stock Exchange, which it expects to become effective in the first quarter. It plans to cancel its Euronext Dublin listing "simultaneously or shortly prior to this", and said it is considering pursuing a primary US listing in due course.

B&M dropped 3.1%, despite a good set of results.

The Luxembourg-based variety goods value retailer reported that pretax profit increased 11% to GBP222 million in the first half ended September 30, from GBP201 million the year prior. It said its garden & Outdoor trading periods in its UK business were "critical" to the profit increase in the first half.

It said revenue increased 10% to GBP2.55 billion in the period, from GBP2.31 billion a year ago.

Auto Trader fared much better, leading the FTSE 100 with a 8.5% rise.

Revenue in the automotive marketplace's first-half ended September 30 rose 12% to GBP280.5 million from GBP249.8 million. Its pretax profit was 10% higher at GBP162.8 million from GBP148.0 million.

In the FTSE 250, Indivior fell 10%.

For the three months ended September 30, the Virginia-headquartered pharmaceutical company reported net revenue of USD271 million, up 17% from USD232 million a year prior.

By contrast, Indivior posted a net loss of USD135 million for the quarter, swung from net income of USD41 million year-on-year. Pretax loss was USD181 million, swung from profit of USD54 million.

Wizz Air fell 9.8%. It downgraded its bottom line guidance due to difficult operating conditions, though it reported a swing to half-year profit.

The Budapest-based budget airline said in the six months to September 30, it swung to a pretax profit of EUR450.2 million from a loss of EUR389.7 million a year prior. Revenue jumped 39% to EUR3.05 billion from EUR2.19 billion.

Looking ahead, the company expects a load factor of above 90% in the current financial year 2024 ending March 31, with net profit of EUR350 million to EUR400 million, a downgrade from June, when it guided for net profit of up to EUR450 million, and compared to a loss of EUR564.6 million in financial 2023.

In European equities on Thursday, the CAC 40 in Paris ended up 1.1%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt ended up 0.8%.

Brent oil was quoted at USD80.69 a barrel at the London equities close Thursday, up from USD80.05 late Wednesday. Gold was quoted at USD1,961.11 an ounce at the London equities close Thursday, higher against USD1,954.55 at the close on Wednesday.

In Friday's UK corporate calendar, there are third quarter results from Allianz Technology Trust and Wheaton Precious Metals.

The economic calendar for Friday has UK gross domestic product data at 0700 GMT. There are also UK trade statistics at the same time.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

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