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London close: Stocks jump as pound slips again

Thu, 5th Oct 2017 16:51

(ShareCast News) - London stocks were in the black by the closing bell as the pound hit a three-week low against the dollar after Prime Minister Theresa May's shambolic speech at the Tory party conference a day earlier cast doubt over her ability to stay in power.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.2% to 7,481.98, while the pound fell 0.9% against the dollar to 1.3130.

Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, said: "We think the spurts of coughing, a collapsing sign and a prankster is emblematic of her future. The odds she can hold on until the end of Brexit talks and provide enough stability for markets have been cut by that performance.

"A looming leadership battle at the top of government adds another dose of political uncertainty on top of Brexit negotiations. The battle lines for sterling are clear; rising political uncertainty versus an impending rate hike from the Bank of England. Speeches on Thursday from BOE policymakers McCafferty and Haldane could shape which factor wins out over the short term."

According to the Telegraph, Theresa May could be gone by Christmas as up to 30 MPs plot to oust her following the conference speech.

The pound could also move on later speeches from two Bank of England rate setters, both of whom have used hawkish language in the past. Chief economist Andy Haldane will speak at 1830 BST at the Economic Research Council and Ian McCafferty will give the Founders' Company Annual Lecture at 1700 BST.

In corporate news, Merlin Entertainments was on the front foot following a report that it has approached marine park operator SeaWorld Entertainment about a potential deal.

Medical products group BTG rallied after saying it grew sales at double-digits at constant exchange rates in the first half of the year, while also announcing it has acquired a US cardiovascular catheters business.

On the downside, Aviva slipped after saying it has agreed to buy a majority shareholding in low cost investment service Wealthify Group for an undisclosed sum. The stock was likely being hit by the fact it went ex-dividend.

Budget airline easyJet reversed earlier gains to trade lower despite reporting an 11% jump in passenger numbers for September as the load factor ticked higher.

Balfour Beatty retreated after saying it was selling its US unit Heery to CBRE Group for $57m (42m) to allow it to expand operations in the region, while Ferrexpo was trading flat after it posted a drop in pellet production for the third quarter due to its ongoing pellet line maintenance programme.

In broker note action, RBS was boosted by an upgrade to 'outperform' from 'neutral' at Exane BNP Paribas while Mediclinic gained on an upgrade to 'neutral' from 'sell' at Goldman Sachs.

LondonMetric traded higher after Kempen lifted the stock to 'neutral' and bumped its price target up to 175p from 145p, but Ladbrokes Coral was hit by a downgrade to 'hold' at Goodbody Stockbrokers.

WPP, Next, Aviva, British Land, Balfour Beatty, Hays, DS Smith and AA were all ex-dividend on Thursday.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,507.99 0.54%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,088.51 0.30%

techMARK (TASX) 3,539.95 0.52%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 463.80p 3.43%

Anglo American (AAL) 1,473.50p 3.04%

Glencore (GLEN) 370.30p 3.03%

Antofagasta (ANTO) 996.50p 2.36%

Worldpay Group (WPG) 414.40p 1.82%

Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,665.00p 1.79%

Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,676.00p 1.79%

Mediclinic International (MDC) 664.00p 1.61%

Tesco (TSCO) 186.60p 1.44%

Schroders (SDR) 3,437.00p 1.39%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Aviva (AV.) 489.90p -1.72%

Next (NXT) 5,170.00p -1.43%

WPP (WPP) 1,384.00p -1.35%

Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,350.00p -1.34%

G4S (GFS) 278.60p -1.28%

Barclays (BARC) 190.15p -1.14%

Centrica (CNA) 177.50p -1.00%

CRH (CRH) 2,810.00p -0.88%

British Land Company (BLND) 602.00p -0.82%

BAE Systems (BA.) 615.00p -0.81%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Tullow Oil (TLW) 190.80p 4.26%

Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 856.50p 4.20%

Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) 545.50p 4.10%

Wood Group (John) (WG.) 728.00p 4.00%

Aldermore Group (ALD) 237.20p 3.85%

Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) 146.90p 3.60%

BTG (BTG) 714.00p 3.25%

TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,675.00p 3.19%

Cairn Energy (CNE) 195.20p 2.95%

Coats Group (COA) 85.60p 2.51%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Hochschild Mining (HOC) 222.90p -4.50%

AA (AA.) 157.40p -3.26%

Hays (HAS) 188.20p -2.94%

Acacia Mining (ACA) 185.80p -2.72%

Smith (DS) (SMDS) 502.00p -2.52%

Sports Direct International (SPD) 398.30p -2.43%

Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 278.50p -2.38%

CYBG (CYBG) 300.60p -2.18%

Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,119.00p -2.13%

Saga (SAGA) 189.10p -2.02%

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