London close: FTSE 100 ends week sharply higher despite election uncertainty

Fri 25 Oct 2019

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks finished the session little changed on Friday even as the prospect of an election threw up yet more uncertainty, but there were some bright spots in the form of well-received updates from the likes of WPP and Barclays and as regards US-China trade.
The FTSE 100 was 0.05% lower at 7,324.47, while the pound was down 0.25% lower against the US dollar at 1.2819 and up by 0.02% versus the euro to 1.1576 amid news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is looking to hold an election on 12 December.

Over the week as a whole, the Footsie added 173.9 points but the FTSE 250 gave back 125.02 points.

Johnson is planning to ask the House of Commons on Monday to vote on a general election in December. He will require a two-thirds majority in order for it to pass. In the event of a successful vote, the government will continue to try and pass the current Withdrawal Agreement until parliament is dissolved on 6 November.

If it is unsuccessful, the debate on the WA will be frozen and Westminster will be turned into a 'zombie parliament'.

"Effectively here the government has tied any further discussion on its deal to a general election being held," Rabobank said.

"The basic stance of Labour on this topic appears to be that, before voting for a general election, it wants to assure that the prospect of no deal has been taken off the table. In practice this means that it needs the EU to have agreed an extension to the Brexit deadline that takes us beyond the date of the general election (i.e. 12th December). It also thinks that only having the ability to debate Brexit legislation to 6th November is not sufficient.

Yet in parallel, France was reportedly pushing for a Brexit delay until just 30 November to be granted, in order to put pressure on MPs in Westminster to back Johnson's deal.

However, the remaining governments were supportive of an extension until 31 January as per Parliament's request, with a decision expected on Tuesday.

On the trade front, sentiment took a hit after US Vice President Mike Pence criticised China's behaviour, saying it had become more aggressive and destabilising in the last year. In a long-awaited speech about the Trump administration's policy on China, he also attacked the country for its human rights record in Hong Kong. However, he did stress that the US remained open to practical cooperation.

China hit back, saying Pence's speech was full of lies and suggesting that the US address its own problems rather than criticise others.

Despite that, the US Trade Representative later said that progress was being made in talks with China and that some sections of the deal were close to being finalised.

In corporate news, advertising giant WPP was sitting pretty at the top of the FTSE 100 after saying it had returned to net sales growth in the third quarter, but reiterating its expectations for like-for-like revenues to fall this year.

Barclays was in the green as it said pre-tax profit in the first nine months of the year rose to 3.3bn from 3.1bn the year before, even as it took a 1.4bn hit from payment protection insurance claims.

Luxury fashion brand Burberry was on the up after a well-received update from Gucci owner Kering.

On the downside, Synthomer shares tumbled after it warned that full-year underlying pre-tax profit would be below current consensus expectations.

Ascential fell after saying that the Money 20/20 China event had been deferred and would not take place this year.

Hastings Group was under the cosh after it warned that its full-year loss ratio, before the impact of the Ogden rate change, could move from the top of the target range to slightly above if elevated claims inflation continues.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,324.47 -0.05%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,103.51 -0.24%
techMARK (TASX) 3,887.84 0.16%

FTSE 100 - Risers

WPP (WPP) 974.40p 6.10%
Fresnillo (FRES) 681.40p 3.90%
Barclays (BARC) 170.36p 2.38%
Carnival (CCL) 3,236.00p 2.25%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,022.00p 2.10%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 2,275.00p 1.98%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,015.50p 1.61%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 712.80p 1.54%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,142.00p 1.50%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,106.00p 1.27%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,326.00p -3.24%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,739.50p -2.90%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 6,814.00p -2.46%
Prudential (PRU) 1,391.00p -2.39%
National Grid (NG.) 903.90p -2.37%
BT Group (BT.A) 201.20p -2.33%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,823.40p -2.25%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 212.30p -1.99%
Centrica (CNA) 72.18p -1.87%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,706.00p -1.87%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Airtel Africa (AAF) 60.50p 8.04%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 246.40p 6.02%
Future (FUTR) 1,282.00p 4.23%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 417.50p 3.60%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 133.45p 3.17%
PayPoint (PAY) 917.00p 3.14%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 290.00p 2.65%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 200.60p 2.61%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 118.25p 2.56%
Contour Global (GLO) 207.00p 2.48%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Synthomer (SYNT) 280.60p -9.37%
IP Group (IPO) 56.90p -6.87%
Essentra (ESNT) 399.40p -5.58%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 487.50p -4.41%
Elementis (ELM) 144.50p -4.18%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 475.20p -3.81%
Hammerson (HMSO) 304.60p -3.73%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 2.98p -3.24%
Ascential (ASCL) 352.40p -3.08%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 148.30p -2.69%
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