London close: Stocks rise as investors wait on Brussels's decision on Brexit extension

Wed 23 Oct 2019

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday, despite the pound's resilience as investors waited on the European Union's response to the UK's request for an extension to the date for its leaving the bloc.
The FTSE 100 was 0.67% higher at 7,260.74, while the second-tier index was essentially unchanged at 20,180.94 and the pound up by 0.1% against the euro to 1.1582.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson paused his Brexit bill on Tuesday after MPs voted in favour of his deal but rejected the PM's attempts to rush it through the Commons in three days. According to reports, Johnson will call for a general election if EU leaders agree to grant the UK a Brexit extension until January.

Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG, said: "Should the EU choose to reject the request for an extension, we would be staring at a distinct possibility of a no-deal Brexit. However, with the EU likely to grant an extension, the length of that term will dictate whether we see Boris push for an election or just another move towards ratifying this deal.

"For markets at least, there is a feeling that a Boris Johnson driven no-deal scenario is less likely than ever. However, with the threat of a Tory/Brexit Party coalition in the event of an election, a no-deal scenario remains a possibility. Given the threat of the EU's arch nemesis Nigel Farage gaining a foothold into negotiations, it looks likely that the EU will grant a short extension that incentivises another push for this deal rather than a general election."

In equity markets, Premier Inn owner Whitbread was the standout gainer on the top-flight index throughout much of the session following the release of its interim results just the day before.

However, by the session close M&G had taken its place, followed close behind by Prudential and Standard Life Aberdeen.

Antofagasta was also in the green as it backed its annual production and posted a rise in third-quarter copper production, but warned that protests in Chile would hit its operations. Gold miner Centamin was also trading higher after a well-received third-quarter production update.

On the downside, shares of precious metals miner Fresnillo slumped as it posted a decline in third-quarter silver and gold production and said annual production would be at the lower end of its target range.

IT infrastructure and services company Softcat was in the red even as it reported a rise in full-year profit and revenue and declared a special dividend.

Housebuilders were under the cosh amid Brexit concerns, with Berkeley Group, Barratt Developments and Persimmon all weaker.

Shore Capital analyst Robin Hardy said: "Uncertainty is a killer in the housing market and after the second vote yesterday, we have it now in spades.

"A likely delay past the end of the calendar year and the growing risk of an election now risks many potential buyers deferring until the start (or later) of 2020. This leaves all house builders with a potential hole in their sales, either contributing to FY2019 profits for calendar year end business this year or leaving order books potentially short for next year."

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,260.74 0.67%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,180.94 0.00%
techMARK (TASX) 3,817.94 0.78%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Evraz (EVR) 393.00p 3.37%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 299.60p 2.78%
CRH (CRH) 2,782.00p 2.43%
Prudential (PRU) 1,444.50p 2.39%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 2,199.00p 2.04%
Carnival (CCL) 3,118.00p 2.03%
Just Eat (JE.) 746.20p 1.94%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,716.50p 1.82%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,978.00p 1.80%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 6,919.00p 1.71%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 233.70p -2.91%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 1,480.00p -2.89%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 6,936.00p -2.78%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 652.60p -2.42%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,437.00p -2.29%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,025.00p -1.91%
Next (NXT) 6,696.00p -1.88%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 438.00p -1.75%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,355.00p -1.67%
Fresnillo (FRES) 639.20p -1.66%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Centamin (DI) (CEY) 111.55p 4.20%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 2,230.00p 3.96%
Renishaw (RSW) 3,368.00p 3.82%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 160.50p 3.48%
Rank Group (RNK) 247.50p 3.34%
Hunting (HTG) 416.80p 2.91%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,298.00p 2.85%
Future (FUTR) 1,246.00p 2.81%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 3,634.00p 2.54%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 190.90p 2.41%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Dunelm Group (DNLM) 833.00p -4.85%
AJ Bell (AJB) 371.00p -3.76%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 219.40p -3.43%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 55.00p -3.00%
Beazley (BEZ) 580.00p -2.85%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 676.00p -2.80%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 1,430.00p -2.72%
Diploma (DPLM) 1,613.00p -2.54%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 472.80p -2.48%
Softcat (SCT) 918.50p -2.44%
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