Sunday 15 September 2019

FTSE 100 slides after pound jumps on Merkel’s Brexit comments

The FTSE 100 closed 75.79 points lower at 7,128.18 at the end of trading on Thursday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin (PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin (PA)

By PA City Staff

Weak US manufacturing figures and the strengthening of the pound following Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit talks both pulled down UK-listed stocks.

The FTSE 100 closed 75.79 points lower at 7,128.18 at the end of trading on Thursday.

The pound strengthened after the Prime Minister’s talks with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, weighing down the UK markets despite strong jumps by some stocks.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Sterling rinsed deal-friendly comments from Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron for all they were worth on Thursday afternoon.

“Reacting as if there had been actual progress made, the pound showed its desperation for good news as it leapt around 1% against both the dollar and euro.”

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, added: “The inverse relation between the pound and the FTSE 100 is hitting the British index hard. The equity benchmark has large international exposure, and the pound’s rally is causing the pain.”

The pound was 0.96% up at 1.224 versus the US dollar, and up 0.93% against the euro at 1.104.

The European markets also dipped after the German Bundesbank said it does not currently see the need for fiscal stimulus, stifling the Dax index.

The German Dax fell by 0.47%, while the French Cac moved 0.88% lower.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones was fairly stagnant, edging marginally into the red following underwhelming economic data from the US and the neutral update from the Fed on Wednesday.

In stocks, the FTSE 100’s biggest riser was easily hospital operator NMC Health, which saw shares soar on the back of speculation it could be the latest firm to be tapped by Asian buyers.

Reports that Chinese conglomerate Fosun was among two firms offering to buy a stake in the company came as the healthcare business recorded surging profits.

Shares in the company closed 360p higher at 2,296p at the close of play on Thursday.

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Ocado shares fell after it confirmed another fire took place at one of its facilities (PA)

Elsewhere, online grocer Ocado dipped lower after it said a fire which broke out at its south-east London facility on Wednesday night caused disruption to some of its food deliveries.

The online grocer said a “small fire” was reported just outside the building in Erith, in a container for waste packaging. It comes a month after a previous fire at Ocado’s Andover facility.

Ocado shares moved down 38p to 1,204.5p.

Shares in Rank Group surged higher as the Mecca Bingo owner told investors its has started to see results from its turnaround programme.

Shares in the company jump by 17.6p to 169.8p at the end of trading.

The price of oil moved lower as traders remained cautious about tensions between the US and China, as well as the disappointing data from the US.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil slumped by 0.86% to 69.8 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Health, up 360p at 2,296p, ITV, up 4.05p at 114.65p, Persimmon, up 41p at 1,900p, and Marks & Spencer, up 4.7p at 191.75p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 18.5p at 521p, Ocado, down 38p at 1,204.5p Aveva, down 118p at 3,826p, and Burberry, down 82p at 2,122p.

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