London open: Stocks nudge lower as investors eye Fed minutes; Dunelm surges

Wed 11 Oct 2017

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks nudged lower in early trade on Wednesday, with little in the way of market-moving news due before the minutes from the Federal Open Markets Committee's previous meeting after the close.
At 0845 BST, the FTSE 100 was down 0.1% to 7,534.22, while the pound was 0.1% lower versus the dollar at 1.3197 and 0.2% weaker against the euro at 1.1163.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "It looks like it's going to be one of those days. There is almost nothing going on this Wednesday, with the main event - the latest FOMC meeting minutes - a long, long way off.

"As is befitting such a sparse economic calendar, the European markets didn't do much of anything after the bell. Whereas a lack of news greatly benefited the pound on Monday, this morning it's having the opposite effect, keeping cable the wrong side of €1.32 while sending the currency 0.2% lower against the euro."

Political uncertainties are the major downside risk for pound traders, reminded Ipek Ozkardeskaya at London Capital Group. "PM Theresa May talked down the possibility of another Brexit referendum, although her deputy Damian Green voiced his preference to remain part of the union. Tensions are high among the Tories, especially in the aftermath of a difficult start to the negotiations with the EU."

The FOMC minutes are due at 1900 BST.

Away from the UK and the US, investors were keeping an eye on Spain after Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont softened his stance on independence on Tuesday, looking to negotiate with Madrid.

Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "While Puigdemont remained clear that they had been given a mandate for independence by the Catalan people, his call for talks in order to find a peaceful resolution was the much preferred option at this stage. A declaration of independence on Tuesday could have led to a chain of events that made the situation much worse and seen Puigdemont arrested, likely leading to more unrest."

In corporate news, Smith & Nephew rallied amid speculation that activist investor Elliott Management has built a stake in the company and NMC Health was boosted by an initiation at 'overweight' by CI Capital Holdings.

Homeware retailer Dunelm racked up strong gains after it reported a 9.3% jump in total like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to the end of September, boosted by favourable weather comparatives and "strong" growth across the business, especially online, where LFL sales grew 46% to 19.9m.

Hargreaves Lansdown ticked up after saying it enjoyed a strong start to its new financial year, with solid levels of net new business flows and assets under administration swelling 3.5% over the first quarter or 21% over the same period last year.

Going the other way, Mondi tanked after warning that full-year profits will be below expectations, while Ibstock fell after saying Wayne Sheppard plans to retire in 2018 after 22 years with the group, including the last two as chief executive.

Countryside Properties slipped despite revealing a 28% rise in home completions for the year to 30 September.

Wood Group also lost a little ground despite being awarded a new multi-million dollar contract by Total.

Recruiter PageGroup was also weaker even as it said profit in the third quarter rose, while subprime lender Provident Financial was under the cosh as Barclays downgraded the stock to 'underweight' ahead of its third-quarter update on Friday.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,534.22 -0.05%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,127.36 -0.09%
techMARK (TASX) 3,538.03 0.16%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,398.00p 2.87%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,879.00p 1.59%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,268.00p 1.20%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 614.00p 0.99%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,851.50p 0.81%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,407.50p 0.80%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,595.00p 0.80%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 1,317.00p 0.77%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,923.00p 0.72%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 436.10p 0.72%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Mondi (MNDI) 1,951.00p -6.61%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,219.00p -2.55%
Next (NXT) 5,030.00p -1.66%
Centrica (CNA) 174.00p -1.19%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,477.00p -1.07%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,385.00p -0.82%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 279.80p -0.67%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 348.90p -0.60%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,840.00p -0.59%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,799.00p -0.55%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Dunelm Group (DNLM) 743.00p 5.99%
Royal Mail (RMG) 392.40p 2.56%
IWG (IWG) 320.60p 1.55%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 1,150.00p 1.41%
Greencore Group (GNC) 189.30p 1.39%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,359.00p 1.34%
Britvic (BVIC) 780.00p 1.10%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,811.00p 1.05%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 196.90p 1.03%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 407.60p 1.02%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Provident Financial (PFG) 760.00p -9.15%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 503.00p -4.28%
Hunting (HTG) 459.00p -3.83%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 488.60p -2.48%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 561.00p -2.43%
Ascential (ASCL) 334.40p -2.25%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,186.00p -2.23%
Rank Group (RNK) 221.50p -1.90%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 269.10p -1.82%
Mitie Group (MTO) 251.90p -1.60%
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