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Pin to quick picksBeazley Share News (BEZ)

Share Price Information for Beazley (BEZ)

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Share Price: 654.50
Bid: 657.00
Ask: 658.00
Change: -12.50 (-1.87%)
Spread: 1.00 (0.152%)
Open: 668.50
High: 669.50
Low: 653.00
Prev. Close: 667.00
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London close: Stocks slip ahead of central bank decisions

Mon, 18th Mar 2024 15:33

(Sharecast News) - London markets closed with a slight downturn on Monday as investors monitored upcoming rate decisions from a number of central banks.

The FTSE 100 edged down 0.06%, closing at 7,722.55 points, while the FTSE 250 experienced a modest decline of 0.14%, ending the day at 19,486.53 points.

In currency markets, sterling was last down 0.08% on the dollar, trading at $1.2726, while it inched up 0.05% against the euro to change hands at €1.1703.

"The FTSE 100 continued to retrace its recent gains on Monday, though the selling is confined to specific names such as BT and Phoenix Group, both of which had poor news this morning," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"Having touched an eight-month high last week, this looks more like consolidation rather than a full-blown reversal."

Beauchamp noted that Alphabet had taken the lead in US trading, rallying over 6% on news that it could be partnering with Apple, allowing the latter to utilise its Gemini AI for iPhones.

"AI continues to excite investors, and the news has helped the stock to recoup almost all the losses from late January.

"This has propelled the Nasdaq 100 higher, shrugging off the poor end to last week, but the Fed meeting and Nvidia conference this week are still potential short-term hurdles for the broader market."

UK house asking prices rise in March, China releases slew of data

In economic news, UK house prices rose in March, suggesting a strengthening confidence in the housing market, according to fresh data from property marketing portal Rightmove.

The Rightmove house price index showed a 1.5% increase in national average asking prices, surpassing February's 0.9% uptick and exceeding the historical March average rise of 1%.

It marked the most significant increase in 10 months, with year-on-year prices up 0.8%.

The average asking price now stood at £368,118, while agreed sales saw a 13% uptick compared to the prior year.

Rightmove highlighted an 8% increase in buyer demand, particularly driven by larger homes and the London market, which are less sensitive to mortgage rates.

"March is typically a strong month for asking price growth, as both buyer and seller activity levels rise and the spring selling season gets underway," said Tim Bannister, Rightmove's director of property science.

"However, the stronger-than-usual price growth this March indicates that new sellers are feeling much more confident - with some perhaps being over-optimistic - that there is enough buyer activity and affordability in their local market to achieve a higher price."

Meanwhile, UK manufacturers showed resilience despite a subdued economic forecast, according to a joint survey by Make UK and BDO.

The quarterly Manufacturing Outlook report, based on responses from 326 companies between January and February, revealed that confidence levels remained "robust".

Recruitment and investment intentions for the first quarter were described as "fairly strong", with recruitment intentions maintaining a +12% balance and expected to rise to +14% in the next quarter.

Investment intentions increased from +10% last quarter to +15%.

"While manufacturers' own confidence remains robust, the overall prospects for the sector are weak for the foreseeable future," said Fhaheen Khan, senior economist at Make UK.

"While there are clearly external factors at play, the UK economy has a fundamental growth problem which a business as usual policy process simply will not address.

"The next government of whatever colour must address this fundamental problem as a matter of national urgency, beginning with a long-term industrial strategy which will really shift the dial on the UK's economic performance."

On the continent, official data confirmed a slight dip in eurozone inflation in February, with the rate settling at 2.6% compared to 2.8% in January.

The decrease was more pronounced from the previous year's 8.5%.

Across the broader European Union, annual inflation stood at 2.8% in February, down from 3.1% in January and significantly lower than the 9.9% recorded at the same time in 2023.

Notably, Latvia, Denmark, and Italy reported the lowest annual rates, while Romania, Croatia, and Estonia recorded the highest.

Meanwhile, the euro area trade surplus with the rest of the world was €11.4bn in January, a significant turnaround from the deficit of €32.6bn a year earlier.

Exports of goods increased by 1.3% compared to the previous year, while imports fell by 16.1%.

Finally on data, economic measures in China for the first two months of the year surpassed expectations, with retail sales rising by 5.5% and industrial production climbing 7%.

Fixed asset investment grew 4.2%.

However, the real estate sector continued to struggle, with investment in real estate declining by 9% in January-February compared to the same period a year earlier.

Reckitt rebounds from late-week fall, Centrica in the red

On London's equity markets, Reckitt Benckiser Group increased 4.24%, bouncing from a recent downturn caused by concerns regarding baby formula compensation, which had impacted its Mead Johnson subsidiary.

Electricals retailer Currys jumped 5.42% following positive updates on sales performance and lifted guidance.

Chemring Group saw a rise of 4.76% after receiving funding from the European Union to enhance its ammunition production capacity.

British Land rose 1.17% after announcing the sale of half its stake in London office 1 Triton Square and the formation of a joint venture to transform the building into a science and innovation hub.

Additionally, Beazley's shares rose by 2.97% after RBC Capital Markets raised its price target and maintained its position as the "top pick".

On the downside, Centrica fell 2% following a downgrade from RBC, while Haleon declined 2.26% after Pfizer announced plans to sell a significant portion of its shares in the company.

Phoenix Group retreated 4.5% amid speculations about a one-off provision in its upcoming annual results to cover certain costs.

Bytes Technology Group saw a decrease of 7.5% despite reporting a "record year", as the circumstances surrounding the resignation of its former CEO raised concerns among investors.

Marshalls faced a significant downturn of 8.53% after revising its profit and revenue outlook for 2024 and reporting a decline in full-year profits and revenue.

Hipgnosis Songs Fund saw a 6.13% decline due to a further valuation drop in its portfolio attributed to an accounting error by its investment adviser.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,722.55 -0.06%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,486.53 -0.14%

techMARK (TASX) 4,459.64 -0.30%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Beazley (BEZ) 671.50p 2.97%

British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,399.00p 2.50%

Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 4,575.00p 1.98%

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,883.00p 1.95%

SSE (SSE) 1,609.00p 1.64%

RS Group (RS1) 735.80p 1.35%

Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,715.00p 1.33%

Unite Group (UTG) 957.50p 1.32%

Legal & General Group (LGEN) 247.10p 1.31%

Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 833.00p 1.07%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 481.70p -4.50%

Vodafone Group (VOD) 67.33p -3.61%

BT Group (BT.A) 104.65p -3.59%

United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,026.50p -3.02%

Severn Trent (SVT) 2,513.00p -2.41%

St James's Place (STJ) 415.30p -2.35%

Haleon (HLN) 315.00p -2.26%

Schroders (SDR) 382.10p -2.08%

Centrica (CNA) 129.95p -2.00%

Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,304.00p -1.62%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Currys (CURY) 59.55p 6.01%

PPHE Hotel Group Ltd (PPH) 1,415.00p 5.99%

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 167.40p 4.95%

Chemring Group (CHG) 365.00p 4.76%

Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 640.50p 4.06%

Future (FUTR) 599.00p 3.81%

PureTech Health (PRTC) 204.00p 3.76%

Renishaw (RSW) 4,154.00p 3.64%

PZ Cussons (PZC) 89.20p 3.48%

Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,560.00p 2.93%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Marshalls (MSLH) 265.80p -8.53%

Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 524.50p -7.50%

FirstGroup (FGP) 175.60p -6.50%

Darktrace (DARK) 462.80p -4.12%

W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 72.00p -4.00%

Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 144.40p -3.86%

Mobico Group (MCG) 66.75p -3.82%

Pennon Group (PNN) 661.00p -3.71%

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 60.10p -3.38%

Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,059.00p -3.36%

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A full 21-day events calendar is provided each day with a subscription to Alliance News UK Professional.
  
Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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