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London midday: FTSE stays down; Auto Trader hit by downgrade

09:57, 17th May 2024

London stocks were still in the red by midday on Friday, having taken their opening cue from a downbeat close on Wall Street.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.4% at 8,407.80.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "After notching up new record intraday highs yesterday, US markets ran out of steam towards the end of the session and left Wall Street limping towards the finish line.

"A sea of red at the market close left US markets below where they started and that negativity set the tone for European markets on Friday. The FTSE 100 struggled to find direction while key indices in France and Germany slipped."

Investors were mulling the latest move by the Chinese central bank, which stepped in again to help the struggling property sector on Friday by relaxing lending rules.

The news came as data showed house prices in major cities fell last month, while industrial production and retail sales data painted a more mixed economic picture.

In equity markets, Land Securities fell despite reporting a halving of its full-year losses.

Auto Trader was under the cosh after a downgrade to 'underweight' from 'equalweight' at Morgan Stanley.

The bank said it sees market/consensus expectations as skewing optimistic on near-term Deal Builder monetisation, while the market seems much more relaxed above the competitive threat from Google in cars than that from CoStar in real estate.

"As a result, AUTO now trades at a premium to Rightmove, which we do not see as warranted given similar revenue/EPS growth trends," it said.

GSK was in focus after selling its remaining 4.2% stake in consumer health business Haleon, which it spun off in July 2022. The pharmaceutical company sold just over 385m ordinary shares in Haleon at 324p each, raising gross proceeds of about £1.25bn.

IDS was also in the spotlight after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that any bid to take over Royal Mail would be subject to national security considerations. On Wednesday, IDS surged after recommending a revised offer from billionaire Daniel Kretinsky's EP Group which values the company at £3.5bn.

Sage Group was a top riser, having tumbled on Thursday after trimming revenue guidance.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 8,407.80 -0.37%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,726.03 -0.46%
techMARK (TASX) 4,775.29 -0.35%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Sage Group (SGE) 1,101.00p 1.52%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,723.00p 1.31%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 4,130.00p 0.73%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,105.00p 0.73%
Tesco (TSCO) 308.90p 0.72%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 522.40p 0.58%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 9,280.00p 0.54%
Bunzl (BNZL) 3,060.00p 0.53%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,300.00p 0.47%
BP (BP.) 491.55p 0.46%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 722.80p -4.26%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 9,265.00p -3.29%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,850.00p -3.08%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 5,870.00p -2.73%
Entain (ENT) 746.00p -2.38%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 674.00p -2.32%
Flutter Entertainment (DI) (FLTR) 16,215.00p -2.29%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 249.80p -2.19%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 352.60p -2.06%
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 516.00p -1.81%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Auction Technology Group (ATG) 581.00p 3.01%
Hammerson (HMSO) 29.20p 2.96%
GCP Infrastructure Investments Ltd (GCP) 77.50p 1.97%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 84.00p 1.39%
Redrow (RDW) 743.00p 1.36%
Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 200.00p 1.21%
BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust (BRSC) 1,500.00p 1.08%
Breedon Group (BREE) 394.00p 1.03%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 124.80p 0.97%
Indivior (INDV) 1,365.00p 0.96%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

IWG (IWG) 199.90p -3.15%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,050.00p -3.12%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 206.00p -3.06%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 557.50p -2.71%
North Atlantic Smaller Companies Inv Trust (NAS) 3,990.00p -2.68%
Savills (SVS) 1,132.00p -2.41%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 230.00p -2.13%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 139.60p -2.10%
Genus (GNS) 1,842.00p -2.02%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 730.00p -2.01%


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