LONDON MARKET OPEN: Stocks Soft At End To Week Of Central Bank News

(Alliance News) - London stock prices slipped at the open on Friday, with disappointment from the ...

Alliance News 18 September, 2020 | 8:54AM
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(Alliance News) - London stock prices slipped at the open on Friday, with disappointment from the US Federal Reserve's mid-week meeting still enervating markets.

The FTSE 100 index was down 30.32 points, or 0.5%, at 6,019.60 early Friday. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index was likewise down 0.5%, or 86.29 points, at 17,651.43. The AIM All-Share index was flat at 970.21.

The Cboe UK 100 index was down 0.6% at 599.69. The Cboe 250 also was 0.6% lower, at 15,056.28, and the Cboe Small Companies down 0.2% at 9,420.46.

In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.1% while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt was flat early Friday.

"Disappointment from the Federal Reserve's inertia earlier in the week continues to overhang," said Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor.

He added: "Despite some support over the last week from generally weaker sterling, the FTSE 100 has been unable to make any meaningful progress and remains down 20% in the year to date, as investors look elsewhere to areas more obviously positioned for stronger growth."

At the top of London's FTSE 100 in morning trade was Frensillo, the gold miner tracking the price of the precious metal higher.

Gold was quoted at USD1,953.40 an ounce early Friday, up from USD1,946.60 on Thursday.

London Stock Exchange Group was up 0.2% after confirmed it has entered into exclusive discussions with peer Euronext over the sale of Borsa Italiana.

"There can be no certainty that a transaction will result from these discussions and any potential sale will be dependent upon the outcome of the European Commission's review of the Refinitiv transaction and that transaction closing in accordance with its terms," the stock exchange operator cautioned, referring to its acquisition of the market data and trading platform provider.

Euronext had announced on Monday it had submitted an offer to buy Borsa Italiana in partnership with Italy's CDP Equity and Intesa Sanpaolo. Euronext shares were up 4.1% early Friday.

Next shares edged 1.2% lower after Liberum downgraded the clothing and homewares retailer to Hold from Buy.

UK retail sales registered their fourth straight month of growth in August, but the pace of improvement is slowing, the Office for National Statistics reported Friday.

Sales were up 0.8% month-on-month in August, slower than the 3.7% growth posted for July but ahead of expectations, according to FXStreet, of 0.7%. The strength of the retail rebound has been fading since lockdown measures began to be eased, with sales having risen 12% in May and 14% in June.

Annually, sales grew 2.8% in August, accelerating from a rise of 1.4% in July.

The ONS said sales in August were up 4.0% compared to February's pre-pandemic level.

Sterling was quoted at USD1.2984 early Friday, up on than USD1.2955 at the London equities close on Thursday.

Back in London, easyJet fell 4.6%. The low cost airline said it has appointed the current chief executive of Aviation at Tui, Kenton Jarvis, as its new finance boss.

Luton-headquartered budget airline easyJet said Jarvis will replace current Chief Financial Officer Andrew Findlay, who will be stepping down in May of 2021 as announced this past May. An update on Jarvis's start date will be provided in due course, easyJet said.

Tui shares were down 1.4%.

Investec dipped 1.5% after the financial services firm unveiled plans to cut its London office's headcount by 13% and does not anticipate declaring an interim dividend.

The Anglo-South African corporate and investment banking business and fund manager expects adjusted earnings per share for the first half ending September 30 to be between 10.5p and 8.3p, down 53% to 63% from last year's 22.4p.

The company said it expects elevated levels of expected credit losses, mainly driven by forward-looking macroeconomic scenarios.

In Asia on Friday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index ended up 0.2%. In China, the Shanghai Composite ended up 2.1%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is up 0.4%.

Against the yen, the dollar was lower at JPY104.62 early Friday versus JPY104.79 late Thursday in London.

The euro traded at USD1.1857, higher than USD1.1821 late Thursday.

The European Commission president has said she is "convinced" a trade deal remains possible with the UK but called Boris Johnson's attempt to override the Brexit treaty an "unpleasant surprise".

Ursula von der Leyen, in comments made to reporters on Thursday, said Downing Street's controversial UK Internal Market Bill had "distracted very strongly" from the two sides being able to secure fresh trade terms before the looming deadline.

The post-Brexit transition period, during which relations between the EU and the UK have remained static, is due to end after December 31 and leaders on both sides of the Channel have warned that an agreement is needed by October if a deal is to be ratified in time for the start of 2021.

Brent oil was trading at USD43.76 a barrel, up from USD43.22 late Thursday in London.

By Lucy Heming; lucyheming@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Investec PLC 153.85 GBX -0.52 -
Fresnillo PLC 1,300.50 GBX -2.44 -
easyJet PLC 521.08 GBX -0.06 -
TUI AG 299.20 GBX -1.45 -
Next PLC 6,306.00 GBX -0.13 -
London Stock Exchange Group PLC 8,638.00 GBX -1.37

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