London open: Stocks nudge up in thin volumes after record highs
London stocks nudged a little higher in early trade on Thursday after hitting fresh records the day before, but volumes and news were light as we head into the new year.
At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% to 7,625.72, just under Wednesday’s all-time intra-day high of 7,632.71. The top-flight index ended the previous session at a new high of 7,620.68, with mining companies driving the gains.
Meanwhile, the pound was down 0.1% against the euro at 1.1262 and up 0.4% versus the dollar at 1.3450.
Analyst Henry Croft at Accendo Markets said: “The US dollar extending its sell-off, falling to its lowest level since 1 December, has aided the commodities rally, while growth barometer Copper trading a fresh 4-year high has sparked confidence that global economic growth will be broadly positive in 2018."
Croft said some focus amid the holiday-lightened macroeconomic calendar will be UK mortgage approvals data, where expectations are for a rebound from October’s 13-month low but still at lower levels than previous readings in 2017, reflecting a falling trend in official government statistics since July.
The mortgage approvals data is due at 0930 GMT.
A survey released earlier by the British Confederation of Industry early on Thursday showed that manufacturers, service sector companies and retailers reported the sharpest rise in output in two years in December.
The survey of 642 companies across the three sectors showed growth in the private sector in the three months to December rose to a balance of 19% from a balance of 6% in the three months to November and marking its highest reading since December 2015.
Anna Leach, head of economic intelligence at the CBI, said: “Private sector firms are enjoying healthy activity levels, but mediocre expectations for growth underline the ongoing challenges facing companies. Persistent cost pressures will ensure that inflation remains at a high level, perpetuating the squeeze on household spending.”
Mining stocks put in another strong performance as metals prices rallied, with Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore among the top risers.
Elsewhere, Tritax Big Box REIT nudged up as it acquired a national distribution facility at Hickling Road in Cannock, Staffordshire, which is operated and let to Unilever UK for a total consideration of £44.25m.
BGEO Group ticked lower as its real estate subsidiary, m2 Real Estate, signed its first major third-party construction contract, the total value of which is $11.6m.
BT Group fell as its stock went ex-dividend.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Anglo American (AAL) 1,546.50p 1.48%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 995.50p 1.12%
Ferguson (FERG) 5,375.00p 0.94%
Old Mutual (OML) 229.90p 0.92%
Glencore (GLEN) 385.95p 0.73%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,496.50p 0.71%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,825.00p 0.67%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,315.00p 0.62%
Diageo (DGE) 2,701.50p 0.60%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 316.20p 0.54%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BT Group (BT.A) 269.45p -1.75%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 769.30p -0.40%
Halma (HLMA) 1,265.00p -0.39%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 4,988.00p -0.34%
3i Group (III) 907.00p -0.33%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,475.00p -0.24%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 240.30p -0.21%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 997.00p -0.20%
CRH (CRH) 2,658.00p -0.19%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 762.20p -0.18%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 260.70p 2.12%
Homeserve (HSV) 824.00p 1.29%
Investec (INVP) 542.50p 1.21%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 692.50p 1.17%
Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) 84.44p 1.12%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 295.00p 1.10%
Computacenter (CCC) 1,146.00p 1.06%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 847.00p 1.01%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 797.50p 0.89%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 504.40p 0.88%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
NewRiver REIT (NRR) 334.91p -2.04%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 785.00p -1.63%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 198.50p -1.24%
Grainger (GRI) 287.40p -1.24%
IWG (IWG) 251.40p -1.18%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 155.60p -1.14%
IP Group (IPO) 137.62p -1.14%
Ibstock (IBST) 259.70p -0.99%
esure Group (ESUR) 254.10p -0.97%
IMI (IMI) 1,327.00p -0.97%