LONDON MARKET MIDDAY: Stocks edge lower in quiet Thanksgiving trade

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London were down midday on Friday, in a quiet day of trade as ...

Alliance News 24 November, 2023 | 11:42AM
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(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London were down midday on Friday, in a quiet day of trade as the Thanksgiving holiday saw global markets "hit the snooze button."

The FTSE 100 index was down 13.35 points, 0.2%, at 7,470.23. The FTSE 250 was down 8.92 points at 18,471.91, and the AIM All-Share was down 0.36 of a point, 0.1%, at 717.72.

The Cboe UK 100 was down 0.3% at 745.50, the Cboe UK 250 was up 0.1% at 15,989.88, and the Cboe Small Companies was down 0.2% at 13,467.41.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.3%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was up 0.2%.

"The usual adage is when the US sneezes the world catches a cold – in the latest case it appears when the US is on holiday global markets hit the snooze button," said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

In the US on Thursday, financial markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will reopen for a shortened session on Friday.

US PMI data is due at 14.45 GMT, while retailers are expected to see record levels of traffic over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period.

Forecasters expect heavy consumer traffic. The National Retail Federation predicts more than 182 million consumers will shop in stores and online over the shopping weekend.

"Earnings from the likes of Walmart and Best Buy have noted a weakening demand environment, signalling the potential for a disappointing fourth quarter on the high-street. Nonetheless, with spending habits having remained strong throughout this year, there is a good chance that we see consumers take advantage of sales where possible in a bid to maintain their standard of living," commented Scope Markets Joshua Mahony.

Retailers in London were up slightly on Friday. Kingfisher rose 0.9%, Next 0.2%, and AB Foods, the owner of Primark, edged up 0.1%.

Meanwhile, in the UK, consumer confidence bounced back in November, figures on Friday showed. This has given retailers much needed encouragement amid the key Black Friday weekend and the run-up to Christmas.

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.

"Recent ups and downs in confidence have underlined the nation's topsy-turvy economic mood as encouraging news about falling inflation and wage growth is offset by high personal taxation, alongside costly fuel and energy bills," said GfK's Joe Staton.

"Although the Overall Index Score is still tracking firmly in negative territory, it is good to see that consumers are more optimistic about their personal financial situation. This shows people are thinking about their future with increased confidence and willingness to look beyond the short-term."

The pound was quoted at USD1.2565 at midday on Friday in London, up compared to USD1.2542 at the equities close on Thursday. The euro stood at USD1.0910, up slightly against USD1.0909. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY149.54, higher compared to JPY149.49.

In the FTSE 100, Barclays rose 0.6%.

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".

Legal & General edged up 0.5% after agreeing to a GBP4.8 billion full buy-in for the Boots Pension Scheme.

"[The transaction] secures the benefits of all 53,000 retirees and deferred members of the scheme, making it the UK's largest single transaction of its kind by premium size and, for L&G, the largest single transaction by number of members," the firm explains. It said the deal builds on an over 20-year relationship with the beauty retailer and pharmacy chain.

Meanwhile, Sage Group was among the index's worst performers, down 2.4%. Canaccord cut the stock of the entreprise software firm to 'sell' from hold'

On AIM, Team17 plummeted 41%.

The indie video game and educational app developer Team17 warned of some of its titles underperforming and overspending on projects.

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.

Still, Team17 believes it is "well positioned with strong traction across its new release and back catalogue titles" ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas trading periods.

RUA Life Sciences fell 12%. The Glasgow-based medical technology holding company said that it expects revenue to fall in the first half, after seeing contract manufacture sales decrease during the period.

For the six months to September 30, the firm expects total revenue of GBP794,000, down 28% from GBP1.1 million a year prior.

Brent oil was quoted at USD81.42 a barrel at midday in London on Friday, higher from USD80.65 late Thursday. Gold was quoted at USD1,995.55 an ounce, up against USD1,992.02.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

Comments and questions to newsroom@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2023 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Team17 Group PLC 235.00 GBX -2.49 -
Associated British Foods PLC 2,269.00 GBX -0.18
RUA Life Sciences PLC 9.90 GBX -1.00 -
Barclays PLC 169.52 GBX 3.08
Legal & General Group PLC 243.10 GBX 0.41 -
Kingfisher PLC 232.40 GBX -0.90
Next PLC 8,410.00 GBX 1.15 -
Sage Group (The) PLC 1,244.50 GBX 0.00
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc 21.49 USD 1.08

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