Market News

London midday: Stocks enjoy Halloween treat after nightmare October

31/10/2018 11:04

(Sharecast News) - There were no spooks or frights in London equity markets on Wednesday, just a welcome treat of rising prices at the end of what has been a torrid month for global stocks. The FTSE 100 was up 1.5% to 7,138.24, clawing back recent losses to reach its best levels in three weeks - but still on track for a monthly drop of around 6%.

Sterling was up 0.5% against the dollar and the euro at 1.2767 and 1.1256, respectively. The rebound could well be down to some end-of-month position adjusting by institutional investors, said market analyst 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 was equally ghoulish, dropping to 53.9 from 54.9, where economists expected it to remain. David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB, pointed out that even after this morning's gains, global equity markets are left licking their wounds after a chillingly brutal month, with the MSCI world equity index still down over 8% for October and on track for its worst month since 2012. "The question going forward now is whether the worst of it is over or if there's another wave of selling into year-end.

The recent stabilisation is a pleasing development at least and with positive seasonality often seen in US stocks following the Midterms this latest rise could yet be more than a dead cat bounce and may well lead to a sustained recovery." On the corporate front, Standard Chartered reared up after posting a 31% jump in underlying third-quarter pre-tax profit, driven by lower-than-expected impairments and costs. 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.

Peers DS Smith also Mondi also rose. William Hill advanced as made it an offer of 2.8bn (£240m) Swedish krone for online 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, it was a little-shop-of-horrors for Next as the retailer reported a frightful decline in store sales for the third quarter, though a solid online performance prevented a true horror show.

Marks & Spencer was dragged down in sympathy. Computacenter shrieked 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 fangs 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 under the cosh after downgrades from both Citi and Liberum following news 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) 7,138.24 1.46% FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,919.72 1.35% techMARK (TASX) 3,306.90 1.09% FTSE 100 - Risers Antofagasta (ANTO) 790.80p 4.55% Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,934.50p 4.17% Glencore (GLEN) 317.00p 4.12% Standard Chartered (STAN) 553.40p 3.89% Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,730.00p 3.73% Croda International (CRDA) 4,869.00p 3.64% BP (BP.) 565.80p 3.63% Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,803.50p 3.59% NMC Health (NMC) 3,475.00p 3.55% Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,638.67p 3.40% FTSE 100 - Fallers BT Group (BT.A) 235.10p -3.51% Next (NXT) 5,158.00p -2.79% Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 293.90p -1.97% Severn Trent (SVT) 1,865.65p -1.81% National Grid (NG.) 837.30p -1.41% Pearson (PSON) 901.40p -0.92% SSE (SSE) 1,140.50p -0.87% United Utilities Group (UU.) 732.60p -0.79% Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 247.15p -0.64% Fresnillo (FRES) 862.20p -0.62% FTSE 250 - Risers WH Smith (SMWH) 1,947.00p 7.04% Premier Oil (PMO) 107.91p 6.00% Inchcape (INCH) 540.50p 5.98% Tullow Oil (TLW) 226.87p 5.47% Convatec Group (CTEC) 166.70p 5.07% William Hill (WMH) 218.00p 4.81% Superdry (SDRY) 808.00p 4.46% TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 203.80p 4.19% TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 121.70p 4.02% Petrofac Ltd.

(PFC) 577.20p 3.93% FTSE 250 - Fallers Computacenter (CCC) 1,080.00p -14.01% Softcat (SCT) 638.72p -6.76% Ferrexpo (FXPO) 206.00p -4.59% Kier Group (KIE) 870.65p -2.72% IWG (IWG) 233.40p -2.42% Inmarsat (ISAT) 453.70p -2.37% Grainger (GRI) 267.60p -2.26% Greene King (GNK) 481.00p -2.02% LondonMetric Property (LMP) 178.90p -1.87% Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,528.15p -1.22%

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.