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London close: Stocks mixed ahead of Autumn Statement

13:59, 20th November 2023

(Sharecast News) - London's stock markets saw a mixed performance at the close of trading on Monday, with Ashtead and Compass among the leading losers.

The FTSE 100 experienced a marginal decline of 0.11%, settling at 7,496.36 points, while the FTSE 250 recorded a modest gain of 0.17% to finish at 18,599.05 points.

In currency markets, sterling was last up 0.17% on the dollar to trade at $1.2483, while it saw a marginal uptick of 0.01% against the euro, changing hands at €1.1419.

"There doesn't seem much motivation on Monday to reverse early losses on the FTSE 100," said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, earlier.

"It's been on the back foot in early trade despite a close in the green for Wall Street on Friday.

"The slight tick up in sterling may be part of the equation, given the effect on dollar denominated earnings of the raft of multinationals listed on the index."

Streeter said the focus for domestically-oriented stocks was on the Chancellor's Autumn Statement this week, with rumours swirling of an extension of fiscal incentives for companies and mooted cuts to inheritance tax.

"However, he's slightly hampered in any big moves to use the tax system to stimulate short-term demand given the risks that could fuel inflation all over again."

Ahead of Hunt's Autumn Statement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a speech earlier that now that inflation had halved from record highs last year, attention could turn to "the next phase" and tax cuts.

Sunak said tax cuts will be implemented in a "serious, responsible way" and "we can't do everything all at once".

Eurozone construction output rises, China stands pat on rates

In economic news, eurozone construction output experienced a 0.4% increase in September compared to the previous month, as reported by Eurostat.

However, on an annualised basis, the euro area saw a 0.3% decline in output.

Meanwhile, within the 27-member European Union, construction output grew by 0.5% monthly and 0.1% across the broader EU.

In Germany, producer prices fell by 11% annually in October, aligning with expectations, according to the federal statistics office Destatis.

The significant factor contributing to this decline was a 27.9% yearly drop in energy prices.

However, when energy prices were excluded, producer prices showed a 0.2% increase compared to October 2022.

On a month-on-month basis, producer prices experienced a 0.1% decrease.

That followed a record fall of 14.7% in September, which was the most substantial decline since data collection began in 1949.

Interest rates were also in focus in China, where the central bank left benchmark lending rates unchanged, consistent with expectations.

The People's Bank of China confirmed that the one-year loan prime rate remained at 3.45%, while the five-year rate used for mortgages was retained at 4.2%.

It marked the third consecutive month in which the PBoC held the one-year LPR steady, following a reduction from 3.55% to 3.45% in August.

Ashtead and Compass pace the declines, MusicMagpie surges

On London's equity markets, Ashtead saw a sharp decline of 10.49% as it adjusted its full-year revenue and profit forecasts downward.

The company cited a quieter hurricane season and disruptions caused by the writers' and actors' strike in the US.

Ashtead also recorded a $2bn depreciation charge, reducing rental revenue growth guidance and core profit expectations.

Compass Group dropped 3.81% despite increasing its final dividend by 27%.

The catering giant reported substantial annual profits but fell short of revenues and earnings per share expectations.

Sirius Real Estate tumbled 5.86% after it announced a capital raise alongside its interim results, with plans to raise £145m through a share placing.

The company intended to pursue attractive acquisition opportunities and reported a 2% increase in first-half adjusted profits.

Senior experienced a minor decline of 0.61% despite maintaining its full-year guidance, citing "robust" market demand, aligning with expectations.

QinetiQ Group declined 2.11% despite earlier gains, having risen after the announcement of a five-year $170 million contract awarded to its Avantus unit by the US Department of Homeland Security for its Tethered Aerostat Radar System.

On the upside, Diploma rallied with an 8.14% gain after expressing confidence in current-year forecasts following strong annual results.

The company reported a 25% growth in adjusted operating profits.

Halma saw a 1.79% increase after announcing the acquisition of TeDan, a US supplier of surgical instruments, for up to $100m (£81m).

Standard Chartered ticked up by 0.68% following an upgrade to 'buy' from 'neutral' by Goldman Sachs, while Currys benefited from an upgrade to 'outperform' from 'sector perform' by RBC Capital Markets, resulting in a 2.52% gain.

RBC noted that Currys was trading at a historically low rating, making it an attractive investment opportunity.

Indivior extended its gains from Friday, rising by 1.52% after announcing a $100m share buyback to reduce its issued share capital and return cash to shareholders.

Outside the FTSE 350, MusicMagpie surged by 23.73% after it confirmed it was in early-stage talks with BT Group and private equity firm Aurelius Group about a possible bid for the company, generating considerable investor interest.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,496.36 -0.11%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,599.05 0.17%
techMARK (TASX) 4,098.62 0.12%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Diploma (DPLM) 3,358.00p 11.19%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 595.80p 6.28%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 13,070.00p 2.95%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 9,190.00p 2.80%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,408.00p 2.10%
Halma (HLMA) 2,090.00p 1.80%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,514.00p 1.25%
Shell (SHEL) 2,641.00p 1.25%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 723.20p 1.23%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 469.20p 1.19%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Ashtead Group (AHT) 4,694.00p -10.49%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,700.00p -3.16%
Compass Group (CPG) 2,050.00p -2.01%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 4,743.00p -1.60%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 223.20p -1.59%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,344.00p -1.51%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 10,106.00p -1.50%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 5,272.00p -1.42%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,661.00p -1.33%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,089.00p -1.32%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Tritax Eurobox (GBP) (EBOX) 55.80p 6.49%
Foresight Group Holdings Limited NPV (FSG) 421.00p 3.69%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 1,905.50p 3.11%
Ceres Power Holdings (CWR) 220.00p 3.00%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 2,765.00p 2.98%
Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 3,520.00p 2.77%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 10,840.00p 2.75%
Future (FUTR) 974.50p 2.69%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 618.00p 2.49%
Ascential (ASCL) 285.00p 2.37%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Digital 9 Infrastructure NPV (DGI9) 43.55p -6.65%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 161.85p -3.66%
OSB Group (OSB) 373.40p -3.56%
CAB Payments Holdings (CABP) 62.60p -3.54%
Premier Foods (PFD) 129.80p -3.28%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 88.50p -3.12%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 73.30p -2.91%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 72.00p -2.40%
C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 138.20p -2.40%
Foresight Solar Fund Limited (FSFL) 95.20p -2.26%


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