London close: Stocks positive after UK GDP, US inflation data
(Sharecast News) - London stocks managed a positive finish on Tuesday, as investors mulled a slightly weaker-than-expected UK GDP reading and pored through the latest inflation data out of the United States.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.02% at 6,890.49, and the FTSE 250 was 0.52% firmer at 22,268.46.
Sterling was mixed, last trading 0.01% stronger against the dollar at $1.3742, but weakening 0.25% on the euro to €1.1508.
Data out earlier in the afternoon showed US consumer prices increasing 0.6% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in March, after rising 0.4% in February and marking the largest rise for the CPI since a 0.6% jump in August 2012.
Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 2.6% before seasonal adjustment - a much larger increase than the 1.7% reported for February.
The gasoline index continued to rise, advancing 9.1% in March to account for almost half of the seasonally-adjusted increase in the all-items index, while the natural gas index also rose, contributing to a 5.0% increase in the energy index over the month, while food rose 0.1%.
"A rise in US inflation served to highlight the fears that could gradually factor into market thinking in the months ahead, with markets on both sides of the Atlantic failing to gain traction today," said IG senior market analyst Joshua Mahony.
"The Nasdaq provided one area of outperformance, with another day of consolidation in the US 10-year Treasury yield helping to bolster confidence in tech stocks."
On home shores, figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed the economy returned to growth in February despite Covid-19 restrictions.
The economy grew 0.4% following a 2.2% decline in January, and versus expectations of 0.6% growth. January's figure was revised up from a previous estimate of a 2.9% drop.
Still, gross domestic product remained 7.8% below the levels seen in February 2020 - before the pandemic hit - compared with 3.1% below the initial recovery peak in October 2020.
"The economy showed some improvement in February after the large falls seen at the start of the year but remains around 8% below its pre-pandemic level," said a spokesperson at the ONS.
"Wholesalers and retailers both saw sales pick up a little, while manufacturing improved with car producers experiencing a partial recovery from a poor January."
They said construction grew strongly after revised figures showed they were struggling in recent months.
"Exports to the EU recovered significantly from their January fall, though still remain below 2020 levels.
"However, imports from the EU are yet to significantly rebound, with a number of issues hampering trade."
In equity markets, Just Eat Takeaway rallied 6.81% after it said first-quarter orders rose 79%.
JD Sports Fashion advanced 2.98% as it missed annual profits expectations despite more people buying sports and casualwear during the pandemic lockdown, but reinstated dividend payments and forecast higher earnings for the current year.
Babcock surged 31.98% as it cautioned investors to expect impairments and charges worth £1.7bn for the full year ending 31 March, but said it is aiming to avoid an equity raise.
XP Power gained 6.47% as it reported a 16% jump in first-quarter revenue and said it was recommending a dividend of 18p a share.
Hays pushed 3.57% higher after the recruiter said full-year operating profit is set to beat market expectations of around £61m and be at least £85m, given improving fees and good underlying cost management, and assuming a continuation of current market conditions.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,890.49 0.02%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,268.46 0.52%
techMARK (TASX) 4,303.52 0.34%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,845.00p 6.81%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,499.50p 3.59%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 590.40p 3.47%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 940.80p 2.98%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,894.00p 2.74%
Evraz (EVR) 611.40p 2.72%
Rightmove (RMV) 616.80p 2.70%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 550.00p 2.69%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,855.00p 2.61%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,151.00p 2.43%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
United Utilities Group (UU.) 946.80p -2.35%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,393.00p -1.60%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 43.75p -1.44%
SSE (SSE) 1,511.00p -1.44%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 203.40p -1.43%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 426.90p -1.31%
Schroders (SDR) 3,602.00p -1.10%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 492.50p -1.09%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 293.00p -1.08%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 242.80p -0.94%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 319.40p 31.98%
NCC Group (NCC) 288.00p 7.16%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,845.00p 6.81%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 5,090.00p 6.47%
AO World (AO.) 324.20p 4.31%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 10,470.00p 3.85%
Hays (HAS) 165.40p 3.57%
National Express Group (NEX) 314.60p 3.20%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 122.80p 3.18%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 1,544.00p 2.64%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 287.00p -3.17%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 513.00p -3.03%
SSP Group (SSPG) 312.40p -2.96%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 4,502.00p -2.90%
C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 290.80p -2.81%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 404.50p -2.77%
ICG Enterprise Trust (ICGT) 1,032.00p -2.46%
Essentra (ESNT) 290.00p -2.36%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 711.00p -2.34%
Beazley (BEZ) 337.00p -2.21%
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