Tuesday 16 July 2019

London markets jump amid slump in value of sterling

London’s top flight closed up 11.53 points at 7,357.31.

British one pound coins. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
British one pound coins. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Press Association City Staff

The FTSE 100 has been buoyed by a dip in the value of the pound, as sterling’s rally on foreign exchange markets fizzled out on Monday.

London’s top flight closed up 11.53 points at 7,357.31.

However, the index remained fairly steady as investors remained cautious ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in the US this week.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Stock markets in Europe haven’t moved much today as some investors are sitting on their hands in advance of the much-awaited Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday.”

In the US, the Dow Jones inched higher as traders wait on the Federal Reserve announcement.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: “The broad expectation is that the Fed will keep rates on hold in June but will adopt a more dovish tone amid deteriorating US economic data.”

The European markets remained steady as the German Dax dipped by 0.09% and the French Cac jumped by 0.43%.

In currency, the pound was down 0.26% to 1.256 versus the US dollar and decreased 0.46% to 1.118 against the euro.

In stocks, construction firm Kier Group saw shares dive after it announced plans to cut 1,200 jobs as part of its strategy to simplify the business and save on costs.

The company said on Monday that it had completed a strategic review under new chief executive Andrew Davies which identified ways to generate cash and reduce its debts.

Kier Group shares closed down 22.8p at 108p.

Elsewhere, Babcock’s share price increased after it said it had been approached by outsourcing rival Serco earlier this year with a proposal for a mega-merger, but the idea was rejected.

The aerospace firm said it had received an “unsolicited and highly preliminary proposal” from Serco on January 23, but turned it down as it “had no strategic merit”.

Shares in Babcock lifted by 6.8p to 471.4p at the close of trading.

Shares in recruitment group Staffline plunged after the firm said it would scrap its dividend and was looking into raising £37 million to cut its debt.

The company said on Monday that its annual results for 2018 would show exceptional costs of £32.6 million.

Shares in the company dropped 110p to 129p in trading on Monday.

Hargreaves Lansdown shares regained some value after its boss, Chris Hill, said he will not take a bonus this year due to the ongoing saga at Neil Woodford’s investment vehicle.

Shares in the investment platform closed up 28.5p at 1,898.5p.

The price of oil slipped as concerns linger about demand after the International Energy Agency cut its forecasts.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil dipped by 0.6% to 61.6 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Hikma pharmaceuticals, up 55p at 1,700.5p, Evraz, up 13.4p at 709.4p, Micro Focus International, up 34.6p at 2,009p, and ITV, up 1.75p at 107p.

The biggest fallers were DS Smith, down 17.9p at 332.3p, EasyJet, down 40.6p at 888.4p, Centrica, down 2.24p at 89.28p, and IAG, down 10.1p at 450.6p.

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