Monday 18 December 2017

FTSE bobs around five-year highs as investors digest results

An office worker watching the FTSE 100
An office worker watching the FTSE 100

BRITAIN'S top shares were flat early this morning as investors digested mixed results among the miners and the index struggled to make headway around five-year highs.

In early trade, the FTSE 100 was down 5.84 points at 6,321.52, continuing to consolidate after touching five-year intraday highs on Wednesday of 6,384.

"The FTSE looks tired and may well have topped out at around the 6,400 level and would for choice short the market on any approach towards the 6400 mark," Jawaid Afsar, a sales trader at SecurEquity, said.

"March is approaching and is usually a bad month for equities and a pull back looks imminent," he said.

Highlighting the slowing momentum in equities, U.S. funds invested in European equities snapped their longest net inflow streak since 2006 this week as they suffered net redemptions for the first time since October, Lipper data showed.

Strong technical support remains, however, which suggests any correction in the FTSE 100 may only be short-lived.

"The FTSE 100 index remains in a strong up-trend. Support is at 6,175," said Dominic Hawker, a technical analyst at Westhouse Securities.

Banks, which have led the rally higher, were the biggest drag on Friday, while miners were flat following mixed results from sector constituents and some downbeat comment from investment banks.

Anglo American rose 1.6 percent after reporting earnings above the company provided consensus.

"A lot of the bad news appears to behind Anglo American but Minas Rio and Platinum still remain significant hurdles for the stock. Expect shorter term some more renewed optimism on new management on turnaround but we remain cautious," Liberum said in a note, keeping its "hold" rating.

Johnson Matthey, however, fell 2.7pc after saying it expects to suffer a loss of commission income of around €35m after Anglo American Platinum decided not to renew a market development agreement with it.

Gold miners Fresnillo and Randgold shed up to 2.7pc after Citigroup recommended selling both on concerns over waning momentum in gold and silver prices.

FTSE 250 peer Petropavlovsk shed 0.3pc after Citi cut its rating on the firm to "neutral" from "buy".

Retailer Kingfisher slipped 1.8 percent after Europe's No. 3 electrical goods retailer Darty DRTY.L warned on year profit and the day after broker Numis highlighted Banque de France data suggesting French DIY in Jan -4.9, ahead of an update in March.


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