London close: Stocks finish lower as stronger sterling bites

Thu 05 Dec 2019

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks remained weak at the close on Thursday, missing out on a broader market rally as sterling strength weighed.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.7% at 7,137.85, while the FTSE 250 was 0.2% firmer at 20,707.33.

It was an underperforming performance from the City's benchmark index compared to its major European peers, as sterling gained on expectations of a Tory win at next week's general election.

The pound was last 0.44% against the dollar at $1.3162, and advanced 0.24% against the euro to €1.1857.

"It is quite clear that the markets are looking favourably on the prospects of a Conservative majority, which due to the promise of delivering Brexit will lift some uncertainty at least for the next couple of months," said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB.

"While there has been a slight narrowing in the lead enjoyed by the Conservatives over Labour, at present it's looking like there won't be a repeat of the 2017 election where a disastrous Conservative campaign and an inspired Labour one saw a stark change in popular opinion and ultimately delivered a hung parliament."

A firmer pound tends to hurt the top-flight index, as more than two-thirds of its constituents derive most of their earnings from overseas.

More broadly, trade relations between the US and China remained in focus after Bloomberg reported China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng as saying that Chinese officials are in "close contact" with US counterparts on trade negotiations.

He also reiterated that tariffs should be reduced proportionately as part of a phase one deal.

"Ultimately, we'll only know what the true state of play is as we get closer to 15 December and the decision on the implementation of tariffs on the remaining $150bn of Chinese goods," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Oil prices were higher at the end of the European day, with Brent crude last up 0.73% at $63.46 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate adding 0.39% to $58.66.

In equity markets, paper and packaging group DS Smith was down 7.15%, even after it posted a 31% jump in first-half profit as it reaped the benefits of a rise in online shopping.

Its peers Smurfit Kappa and Mondi also retreated, by 3.48% and 1.37% respectively.

Travel company TUI suffered a serious slide of 4.12% after a downgrade at Commerzbank, while Hochschild Mining was 2.01% lower by a downgrade to 'neutral' from 'buy' at UBS, and Stagecoach was knocked down 2.24% by a downgrade at Liberum.

IG Group lost ground, falling 3.6% as the online trading provider said net trading revenue for the first half was set to slip to around 250m from 251m last year, which benefited from two months of trading prior to the introduction of product intervention measures by the European Securities and Markets Authority.

Clothing label Ted Baker fell 4.57% after the Financial Times reported that the company had appointed AlixPartners to help with a root-and-branch review of its operations following three profit warnings.

Investment platform AJ Bell was on the back foot by 2.21% even as it reported record pre-tax profit in its first set of results as a listed company.

Mediclinic was off 0.16% and Britvic was off 2.65%, the pair went ex-dividend.

On the upside, luxury fashion brand Burberry sparkled, rising 3.12% as shares of luxury coat maker Moncler surged following a report that France's Kering could be interested in buying the company.

Dunelm rocketed 19.59% higher, after the homeware retailer said full-year pre-tax profit was set to be higher than previous expectations.

Aston Martin Lagonda shares rallied 18.39% following a report that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll - father of Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll - is preparing to make a bid for a major stake in the luxury car maker.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,137.85 -0.70%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,707.33 0.20%
techMARK (TASX) 3,999.17 -0.04%

FTSE 100 - Risers

NMC Health (NMC) 2,595.00p 6.57%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,055.00p 3.37%
Fresnillo (FRES) 563.20p 3.26%
BT Group (BT.A) 190.74p 2.34%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 197.00p 2.18%
British Land Company (BLND) 596.20p 1.81%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 226.00p 1.57%
Kingfisher (KGF) 207.10p 1.47%
ITV (ITV) 143.00p 1.38%
Centrica (CNA) 80.04p 1.32%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Glencore (GLEN) 216.90p -9.00%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 351.80p -7.15%
Evraz (EVR) 341.90p -4.28%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 972.40p -3.87%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,606.00p -3.48%
BHP Group (BHP) 1,662.80p -1.55%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,787.00p -1.45%
BP (BP.) 466.00p -1.34%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,621.50p -1.31%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,554.00p -1.26%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Dunelm Group (DNLM) 995.00p 19.59%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 600.00p 19.28%
Workspace Group (WKP) 1,131.00p 3.95%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 792.20p 3.34%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 137.60p 3.15%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 935.00p 2.75%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 400.30p 2.61%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 2,052.00p 2.60%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,984.00p 2.48%
Diploma (DPLM) 1,873.00p 2.35%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Centamin (DI) (CEY) 119.70p -6.34%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 250.00p -4.94%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 664.40p -3.60%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 551.00p -3.16%
Royal Mail (RMG) 213.70p -3.08%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 130.20p -2.84%
Britvic (BVIC) 937.00p -2.65%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 167.80p -2.64%
Investec (INVP) 428.50p -2.39%
AJ Bell (AJB) 399.50p -2.08%
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