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Share Price: 257.80
Bid: 257.80
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Change: -4.80 (-1.83%)
Spread: 0.20 (0.078%)
Open: 261.00
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Low: 257.20
Prev. Close: 262.60
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LONDON MARKET MIDDAY: Mood optimistic as eyes turn to US inflation

Mon, 12th Sep 2022 11:59

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London made headway on Monday morning as investors looked ahead to some key economic indicators, chiefly a US inflation reading due on Tuesday that is expected to show softening price pressures.

The FTSE 100 index was up 96.90 points, or 1.3%, at 7,447.97 midday Monday. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index was up 231.79 points, or 1.2%, at 19,419.82. The AIM All-Share index was up 4.07 points, or 0.5%, at 884.67.

The Cboe UK 100 index was up 1.1% at 744.15. The Cboe 250 was up 1.3% at 16,743.32, and the Cboe Small Companies up 0.5% at 13,767.95.

In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 1.3% while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was up 1.6%.

"Investors took fresh solace ahead of the latest US inflation report, where hopes of further evidence of peak inflation remain high," said Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor.

Due on Tuesday, the US consumer price index reading is expected to show the annual US inflation rate softening to 8.1% in August from 8.5% in July, according to FXStreet.

Even though inflation is set to ease, expectations for the Federal Reserve's meeting next week remain elevated. Another 75 basis point interest rate hike is expected, taking the federal funds rate to a range of 3.00% to 3.25%.

"The fact remains that the Federal Reserve will remain of the opinion that one swallow does not make a summer," said Hunter. "Until such time that a trend can be established underlining easing inflation, coupled with weakness in the labour market which is not yet in evidence, the Fed will likely leave its aggressive stance in play."

The dollar was continuing to ease off a recent winning streak at the start of the week. Sterling was quoted at USD1.1672 on Monday after the data, higher than USD1.1580 at the London equities close on Friday.

This was despite some underwhelming UK GDP data.

The UK economy expanded 0.2% month-on-month in July, the Office for National Statistics said. This marked a recovery from June's 0.6% slide, but undershot market forecasts for 0.5% growth.

"With business surveys suggesting that economic activity in August lost further momentum, and output in September now set to be hit by the period of mourning following the death of the Queen including the national holiday one week today, there is a good chance of a second successive modest drop of GDP in Q3 following the marginal fall of 0.1%Q/Q in Q2," said Daiwa Capital Markets.

The euro traded at USD1.0135, up against USD1.0003 late Friday. Versus the yen, the dollar was quoted at JPY142.83, up from JPY142.53.

Gold was quoted at USD1,724.81 an ounce in London, rising from USD1,715.81 on Friday. Brent oil was trading at USD93.81 a barrel, up from USD91.75 late Friday.

Futures are pointed to a positive start on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones called up 0.3%, the S&P 500 up 0.4%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite up 0.5%.

In London, retailers were among the top performers in the FTSE 100. Grocer J Sainsbury rose 4.4%, DIY retailer Kingfisher was up 4.3%, and athleisurewear seller JD Sports was up 3.9%.

The sector was benefiting from a positive read-across after JPMorgan placed supermarket chain Tesco and Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins on 'positive catalyst watch'.

Tesco shares were up 3.8%.

At the top of the FTSE 250 index was Ferrexpo, rallying 11% on news that Russian troops were withdrawing from key areas of Ukraine's Kharkiv region.

Ferrexpo produces iron ore in Ukraine.

Russian troops were also to withdraw from the city of Balakliya, which the Ukrainians had reported as having liberated last week.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday evening said that, since the beginning of the month, the Ukrainian army recaptured around 2,000 square kilometres of territory in areas previously occupied by Russia as part of Kiev's counter-offensive.

Towards the other end of the index was Serco, down 6.2%, following news that long-serving chief executive, Rupert Soames, is departing.

Soames intends to retire from the firm in September next year, at which point he will have served the outsourcer for over nine years. He will step down as CEO at the end of 2022 and will be succeeded by Mark Irwin, who is currently the CEO of Serco's UK & Europe division.

"It has been the privilege of my working life to lead Serco for the last eight years, but it is now time for me to outsource myself," said Soames.

Tate & Lyle fell 4.1% on a downgrade to 'hold' from 'buy' at Jefferies.

On AIM, UK Oil & Gas fell 17% after raising GBP3.0 million in a discounted share placing.

The company said it has raised GBP3.0 million via a placing of 3.43 billion shares at a price of 0.0875 pence each. This represents a 20% discount to the closing price of 0.1098p per share on Friday, being the last business day before the announcement.

UK Oil & Gas said that the placing will provide general working capital and help deliver its near term goals of completing its Phase 2 Turkey seismic programme and the subsequent drilling of a new appraisal well in the Basur oil discovery. It expects this will add near-term oil production in the first half of 2023.

By Lucy Heming; lucyheming@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2022 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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