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London open: FTSE edges lower as investors eye Powell speech

Published 10/01/2023, 09:02
Updated 10/01/2023, 09:13
London open: FTSE edges lower as investors eye Powell speech

Sharecast - At 0850 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 7,703.26

Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: "After the FTSE 100 closed above a three-year high, European markets have opened lower following hawkish comments from two Fed policymakers.

"Focus now shifts to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s address later today for clues into the outlook for US monetary policy. US futures are pointing to a softer open after markets stateside closed mixed with tech stocks outperforming as the Nasdaq logged its second day of gains despite weakness for the Dow Jones.

"Oil prices are giving back some gains after a rally on Monday driven by hopes of stronger demand following the loosening of China’s covid restrictions and a Goldilocks US jobs report on Friday."

Powell is due to speak later in the day at a central bank conference in Stockholm.

On home shores, meanwhile, data showed that retail sales jumped in December as shoppers splashed out on Christmas food and gifts.

Many in the sector had been concerned that the cost-of-living crisis, widespread rail strikes and the cold snap would weigh on sales during December, one of the most important months of the year for retailers. But according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, total sales increased by 6.9% last month, compared to 2.1% growth in December 2021.

On a like-for-like basis, they improved 6.5% against a 0.6% rise a year previously. The increase was driven largely by food sales, which jumped 7.7% in the three months to December. Non-food sales rose 1.1% over the same period on the same basis.

The strong end to the year helped UK total retail sales increase 3.1% year-on-year in 2022, with food sales ahead 3% and non-food sales up 3.2%.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "After an exceptionally challenging year, which saw inflation climb and consumer confidence plummet, the uptick in spending over Christmas gave many retailers cause for cheer.

"Nonetheless, despite the strong sales, growth remained below inflation, making December the ninth consecutive month of falling volumes.

"Retail faces further headwinds in 2023: cost pressures show little immediate signs of waning, and consumer spending will be further constrained by increasing living costs."

In equity markets, recruiters PageGroup and Hays (LON:HAYS) slumped after a profit warning from Robert Walters.

Miniature wargames manufacturer Games Workshop was in the red after it posted a decline in half-year profit.

On the upside, online electrical retailer AO World rallied after it lifted its profit guidance for the year to March 2023 as it said profitability was running ahead of its previous expectations, having taken actions to cut costs and improve margins.

Greeting card retailer Card Factory also upgraded its profit guidance for the year as it hailed better-than-expected trading as customers returned to shopping in bricks and mortar stores.

Plus500 (LON:PLUSP) pushed higher as it highlighted an "excellent" operational and financial performance throughout 2022.

In broker note action, Centrica (LON:CNA) was a high riser after it was reinstated at ‘outperform’ by Exane, while Admiral was boosted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn).

Softcat was knocked lower by a downgrade to ‘sell’ from ‘neutral’ at UBS.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,703.26 -0.28%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,430.45 -0.25%

techMARK (TASX) 4,487.03 -0.31%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Admiral Group (LON:ADML) (ADM) 2,259.00p 2.31%

Associated British Foods (LON:ABF) 1,762.50p 0.71%

Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 248.80p 0.69%

Glencore (LON:GLEN) 546.20p 0.66%

Centrica (CNA) 91.02p 0.62%

Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HRGV) (HL.) 879.80p 0.59%

Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 12,535.00p 0.56%

Shell (LON:RDSa) (SHEL) 2,392.00p 0.55%

B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 449.90p 0.51%

Whitbread (LON:WTB) 2,819.00p 0.39%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Ocado Group (LON:OCDO) 727.60p -2.10%

Ashtead Group (LON:AHT) 5,028.00p -1.60%

Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 740.00p -1.54%

Taylor Wimpey (LON:TW.) 105.35p -1.45%

Halma (LON:HLMA) 2,056.00p -1.30%

CRH (CDI) (LON:CRH) 3,558.00p -1.29%

Haleon (HLN) 317.50p -1.24%

Diageo (LON:DGE) 3,595.00p -1.10%

Relx plc (REL) 2,307.00p -1.07%

Intertek Group (LON:ITRK) 4,182.00p -1.02%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Drax Group (LON:DRX) 645.50p 2.14%

Savills (LON:SVS) 830.00p 2.03%

W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 75.90p 2.02%

BH Macro Ltd. GBP Shares (BHMG) 4,615.00p 1.99%

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 90.20p 1.92%

Harbour Energy (HBR) 313.20p 1.92%

Currys (CURY) 60.90p 1.84%

Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,739.00p 1.64%

Hammerson (HMSO) 26.37p 1.46%

Dechra Pharmaceuticals (LON:DPH) 2,700.00p 1.35%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Pagegroup (PAGE) 441.00p -6.92%

Games Workshop Group (GAW (LON:GAW)) 8,630.00p -5.42%

Softcat (SCT) 1,181.00p -4.99%

Hays (HAS) 116.40p -4.12%

Oxford Instruments (LON:OXIG) 2,120.00p -3.85%

ITV (LON:ITV) 78.86p -3.22%

Molten Ventures (GROW) 383.20p -2.99%

International Distributions Services (IDS) 228.40p -2.43%

FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 748.00p -2.35%

Clarkson (CKN) 3,115.00p -2.20%


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