London close: FTSE ends higher as resources-led gains trump insurers' falls
(ShareCast News) - Stocks in London ended Monday a little higher with gains among a resources-rich sweep of sectors beating falls in insurers and commercial property as the Tory rush to trigger Brexit hit another speed wobble in the form of Scottish indpendence
FTSE 100 closed 0.13% higher at 7,253.00, and FTSE 250 ended 0.44% up at 18,671.06. At about 16:45 GMT, sterling was up 0.02% to $1.2464, off earlier lows.
Gains were greatest on the FTSE 350 indices for oil-related stocks, industrial metals, construction & materials, industrial engineering and personal goods.
Elsewhere, the Euro Stoxx 50 and Dax were mildly firmer, while the Cac 40 was essentially flat. Wall St indices the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite slipped.
All this amid reports Scotland could call another independence vote as Prime Minister Theresa May relentlessly drives the UK towards triggering Article 50 and a two-year Brexit countdown.
IG's Joshua Mahony said the pound's early session weakness was on reports May would push for the almost certain Scottish referendum to take place post-Brexit.
"This is all about leverage, with a united Britain representing a stronger hand when it comes to Brexit negotiations," said Mahony.
The prospect of a second Scottish vote and possible UK break-up only adds to the confluence of factors gathering against May and her always brave-hearted Brexit band.
The market was also looking ahead to the US, and specifically President Donald Trump's speech to Congress on Tuesday.
"Hopes that the President may sketch out the framework of a tax plan took a knock after he admitted that he could not make an announcement until after a revamped proposal for Obamacare was complete," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
"He did say he would be making a big statement on infrastructure spending," added Hewson.
Returning to the UK, shares in London Stock Exchange Group fell after it said on Sunday that it did not think its proposed merger with Deutsche Boerse would be approved by the European Commission, after competition regulators came up with "unexpected" demands last week.
On the upside, house-builder Persimmon rallied as it reported a rise in 2016 revenue and pre-tax profit and said it remained on track with its growth strategy and aims to further increase its capital return plan to shareholders.
Primark owner Associated British Foods gained after saying it expects "excellent progress" in profits and earnings this year, with growth in all parts of the business in the first half and a further boost from exchange rates.
Distribution and outsourcing company Bunzl advanced as it reported a 12% jump in full-year pre-tax profit to £362.9m, boosted by the post-Brexit vote slump in the pound.
Insurers were hit hard after the government announced it would be revising some personal-injury rules. Direct Line, Admiral, Standard Life and others were dragged lower as a result.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,253.00 0.13%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,671.06 0.44%
techMARK (TASX) 3,370.24 0.11%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,245.00p 3.41%
CRH (CRH) 2,744.00p 2.89%
Unilever (ULVR) 3,831.00p 1.54%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,325.50p 1.34%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,268.50p 1.28%
Croda International (CRDA) 3,345.00p 1.06%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 234.10p 1.04%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,044.00p 1.03%
BP (BP.) 451.50p 0.98%
WPP (WPP) 1,890.00p 0.96%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 338.50p -7.16%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,486.00p -2.56%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,824.00p -2.46%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 233.40p -2.02%
Intu Properties (INTU) 288.30p -1.64%
Capita (CPI) 548.50p -1.53%
Standard Life (SL.) 364.50p -1.33%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 3,090.00p -1.12%
SSE (SSE) 1,530.00p -1.10%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 297.40p -1.06%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Rotork (ROR) 246.20p 4.41%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 1,599.00p 3.83%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 450.30p 3.80%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 461.40p 3.71%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 351.00p 3.66%
IMI (IMI) 1,249.00p 3.14%
Hastings Group Holdings (HSTG) 238.40p 2.98%
Carillion (CLLN) 214.00p 2.88%
Hays (HAS) 157.90p 2.60%
Evraz (EVR) 234.20p 2.32%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Senior (SNR) 175.80p -5.99%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 523.00p -4.47%
Ascential (ASCL) 295.80p -3.36%
Metro Bank (MTRO) 3,475.00p -2.31%
Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate (KWE) 958.00p -2.24%
CYBG (CYBG) 264.40p -2.04%
BGEO Group (BGEO) 2,806.00p -2.03%
IP Group (IPO) 162.20p -1.75%
Unite Group (UTG) 621.50p -1.74%
Polymetal International (POLY) 983.50p -1.40%