London close: Stocks fall amid slowdown fears; Powell, Bailey comments in focus
(Sharecast News) - London stocks closed down but off lows on Wednesday, as investors mulled comments from central bank officials on both sides of the pond, amid ongoing concerns about a global slowdown.
The FTSE 100 ended 0.2% lower at 7,312.32. Stocks had taken their opening cue from a downbeat session on Wall Street after a disappointing reading from the US Conference Board's latest consumer confidence index.
IG Market analyst Chris Beauchamp said: "It has been one of those closely-fought days between buyers and sellers. There are still those looking for a bounce for oversold markets, but their task has been complicated by yesterday's gloomy confidence data and the pressure that has piled on markets.
"It does look like we are still in the first phase of this bear market, where indices are prepared to drop on the slightest bit of bad news, and any rally is short-lived. So far a sustained bounce seems unlikely."
Investors were digesting comments from Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey and US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.
Speaking at a panel discussion in Portugal, Bailey said the BoE has the option to act more forcefully on inflation if required.
"There will be circumstances in which we will have to do more," he said. "We're not there yet in terms of next meeting. But that's on the table. But you shouldn't assume it's the only thing on the table."
Meanwhile, Powell said that getting inflation back to the Fed's 2% target would involve "some pain" but that that "the worst pain would be from failing to address this high inflation and allowing it to become persistent".
In equity markets, British Land and Land Securities both slid after rating downgrades at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Workspace was also down after a rating cut by BofA ML.
Drinks maker Diageo was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'sell' from 'hold' at Deutsche Bank, while Anglo American was weaker after a downgrade to 'hold' from 'buy' by the same outfit.
Cruise operator Carnival tumbled after Morgan Stanley slashed its price target on the underweight-rated shares and said the price could drop to $0 in the face of another "demand shock".
Greeting cards and gifts retailer Moonpig slumped after it posted a drop in full -year adjusted pre-tax profit and revenue.
On the upside, variety goods retailer B&M European Value Retail was in the black even as it said that UK first-quarter like-for-like revenue fell 9.1% as "exceptionally high sales" last year during Covid lockdowns distorted comparatives.
Severn Trent and United Utilities were also higher, recovering some ground after being hit on Tuesday by a research note from JPMorgan.
888 was a high riser following a Times report that the UK government White Paper on reforming the gambling sector will include measures such as online casinos having maximum stakes of between £2 and £5 with a ban on free bets.
Broker Shore Capital said that if the measures reported by The Times prove to be correct, the outcome would be better than feared.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,312.32 -0.15%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,038.79 -1.61%
techMARK (TASX) 4,318.74 -0.42%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 638.60p 2.90%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 11,054.00p 2.48%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,798.00p 2.04%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,046.00p 2.00%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 386.40p 1.76%
GSK (GSK) 1,793.00p 1.53%
Experian (EXPN) 2,420.00p 1.47%
RS Group (RS1) 883.00p 1.44%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 552.10p 1.15%
Relx plc (REL) 2,236.00p 0.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
British Land Company (BLND) 463.30p -8.66%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 801.00p -7.23%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 688.40p -6.54%
Pearson (PSON) 745.80p -5.43%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 111.68p -4.38%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,542.00p -3.86%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,173.00p -3.77%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,345.50p -3.48%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 84.20p -3.37%
Aveva Group (AVV) 2,305.00p -3.11%
FTSE 250 - Risers
888 Holdings (888) 175.40p 5.54%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 394.20p 2.02%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,672.00p 1.89%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 6,690.00p 1.75%
Clarkson (CKN) 3,055.00p 1.66%
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (DI) (VEIL) 686.00p 1.33%
ICG Enterprise Trust (ICGT) 1,098.00p 1.10%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 147.00p 1.10%
International Public Partnerships Ltd. (INPP) 165.60p 1.10%
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 239.50p 1.05%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Carnival (CCL) 653.20p -16.34%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 480.20p -9.80%
Chrysalis Investments Limited NPV (CHRY) 113.00p -8.31%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 637.00p -6.80%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,857.00p -6.59%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 138.45p -6.23%
TP Icap Group (TCAP) 114.20p -6.16%
easyJet (EZJ) 386.60p -6.10%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 191.40p -6.08%
Workspace Group (WKP) 610.00p -5.86%
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