Market News

London open: Stocks rally on positive US and Asian cues; StanChart shines

31/10/2018 08:51

(Sharecast News) - It was more treat than trick for London stocks in early trade on Wednesday, taking their cue from devilishly good sessions in the US and Asia, with a solid update from Standard Chartered helping to underpin the mood. At 0840 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 1.4% to 7,136.23, while the pound was up 0.3% against the dollar at 1.2748 and 0.2% firmer versus the euro at 1.1228. "With October containing as much red as the goriest of slasher flicks, the markets oddly chose to rebound on what would have been an entirely calendar-appropriate day to continue the month's trading horrors," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell. The rebound could well be down to some end of month position adjusting, said Michael Hewson at CMC Markets, though he also pointed to some indications in the past few days that the market might have found a "short-term base, with most of the bad news already priced in to some extent". "This may be why markets shrugged off the latest Chinese manufacturing and services PMI data for October which pretty much confirmed that the Chinese economy was slowing down," he added. China's manufacturing PMI index hit its lowest level in over two years at 50.2, down from 50.8 and worse than the forecast of 50.6 as new export orders contracted for the fifth month in a row.

The non-manufacturing PMI dropped to 53.9 from 54.9, where economists expected it to remain. "The gains in Asia markets were no doubt helped by a decent US session which also saw their second consecutive positive session, though a negative reaction to Facebook's results after the close may well temper those gains when US markets reopen later," Hewson said. Back in London, Standard Chartered was the standout performer after it posted a 31% jump in underlying third-quarter pre-tax profit, driven by lower-than-expected impairments and costs, but warned on risks from current trade tensions. Nicholas Hyett, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "In the short term these numbers are better than expected, with underlying profits beating market expectations.

However the longer term concern is that Standard Chartered continues to shrink. "Standard Chartered is lending more profitably, and with fewer defaults, but ultimately banks only make money on what they lend, and loans to customers are shrinking.

That's a touch surprising, since the bank's emerging market customers are growing quickly and should be crying out for funding.

With plenty of capital now on hand, Standard Chartered is more than capable of meeting demand for loans." Elsewhere, packaging and paper specialist Smurfit Kappa was higher on the back of a well-received trading statement and news that it has agreed to buy a corrugated plant and a paper mill in Belgrade from Kappa Star Group for €133m. William Hill advanced as made it an offer of 2.8bn (£240m) Swedish krone for Swedish gaming company Mr Green, while NEX Group was on the front foot after the Competition and Markets Authority cleared its acquisition by CME Group. Retirement products specialist Just Group pushed higher after it reported new business sales up 17% in the third quarter. On the downside, Next slid after reporting a frightful Halloween decline in store sales for the third quarter, though a solid performance saved the retailer from a true horror show.

Marks & Spencer was dragged down in sympathy. Computacenter was sharply lower as it reported a drop in third-quarter revenue, while Intu Properties slipped after the shopping centre owner said it had given a consortium led by its deputy chairman John Whittaker until 15 November to make an offer. There was no shortage of broker notes for investors to sink their teeth into.

Inchcape surged following an upgrade to 'overweight' at Barclays, while Spire Healthcare was lifted to 'hold' at Berenberg and Intertek was boosted to 'buy' at Kepler Cheuvreux. WH Smith was upgraded to 'buy' from 'hold' at Peel Hunt and William Hill was lifted to 'overweight' from 'equalweight' by Morgan Stanley. Restaurant Group was downgraded to 'neutral' at Citi after it announced on Tuesday that it was buying the Wagamama restaurant chain. Intu Properties was cut to 'reduce' from 'buy' by AlphaValue, while IWG was downgraded to 'sell' from 'hold' at Peel Hunt.

Goldman Sachs cut Pets at Home to 'sell' from 'neutral'. Market Movers FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,136.23 1.43% FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,933.42 1.42% techMARK (TASX) 3,303.35 0.98% FTSE 100 - Risers Standard Chartered (STAN) 557.40p 4.64% Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,928.00p 3.82% Smith (DS) (SMDS) 400.10p 3.57% Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,414.00p 3.25% Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 844.80p 3.02% Just Eat (JE.) 604.00p 2.93% Glencore (GLEN) 313.11p 2.84% Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,689.00p 2.83% Ferguson (FERG) 5,299.00p 2.69% St James's Place (STJ) 1,020.50p 2.69% FTSE 100 - Fallers Next (NXT) 5,110.00p -3.69% Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 295.50p -1.43% Tesco (TSCO) 213.00p -0.93% BT Group (BT.A) 242.25p -0.57% Randgold Resources Ltd.

(RRS) 6,110.00p -0.55% Fresnillo (FRES) 862.80p -0.55% National Grid (NG.) 845.30p -0.47% Severn Trent (SVT) 1,894.00p -0.32% Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,376.00p -0.29% Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 248.10p -0.26% FTSE 250 - Risers Inchcape (INCH) 549.50p 7.75% Just Group (JUST) 94.35p 5.48% Capita (CPI) 130.00p 4.21% Premier Oil (PMO) 105.80p 3.93% Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 120.70p 3.69% BBA Aviation (BBA) 245.00p 3.64% Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 520.60p 3.62% Weir Group (WEIR) 1,609.50p 3.57% IMI (IMI) 1,000.00p 3.47% Mediclinic International (MDC) 374.70p 3.45% FTSE 250 - Fallers Computacenter (CCC) 1,034.00p -17.68% Ferrexpo (FXPO) 198.85p -7.90% Softcat (SCT) 652.90p -4.69% IWG (IWG) 235.30p -1.63% Intu Properties (INTU) 195.95p -1.28% Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,220.24p -0.79% HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs (HVPE) 1,364.00p -0.58% Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 759.15p -0.50% Polymetal International (POLY) 724.20p -0.39% Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 247.61p -0.36%

Investors should be aware that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results and that the price of shares and other investments, may fall as well as rise and the amount realised may be less than the original sum invested.

Walker Crips Group plc (Old Change House, 128 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BJ), registered in England, registered number 1432059, incorporates the following companies which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority: Walker Crips Investment Management Limited registered in England number 4774117 member of the London Stock Exchange, Walker Crips Wealth Management Limited registered in England number 3790291, Ebor Trustees Limited registered in England number 3514268, Barker Poland Asset Management LLP registered in England and Wales number OC341149.