London close: FTSE mixed after UK inflation, Yellen testimony
(ShareCast News) - UK stocks ended Tuesday's see-saw session on a mixed note as less-than-enthusiastic investors scrutinised UK inflation data and after US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's words to the Senate banking committee.
At the close in London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.14% to 7268.56 and the FTSE 250 was up 0.15% to 18,787.5, the latter further extending its run of record closes.
FTSE 350 indices notably lower included tobacco, household goods, aerospace & defence, construction & materials and chemicals, all by at least 1%.
"The FTSE 100 was little changed with early gains in connection with a weaker pound wiped out by a weak start on Wall Street," said London Capital Group senior market analyst Jasper Lawler.
Blue chips were led lower by Rolls-Royce after its full-year record £4.6bn pretax loss. Underlying profits were better than expected and its transformation programme was underway.
By contrast, TUI's first-quarter loss narrowed and revenue grew as the Anglo-German travel group said this left it confident of growing underling earnings 10% for the full year.
These results were overshadowed by inflation data. The UK consumer-price index for January came in at 1.8%, below both the 1.9% expected and Bank of England's targeted 2%.
SpreadEx financial analyst Connor Campbell commented that this data saw sterling react poorly.
"The FTSE couldn't make the most of this dip, however," said Campbell.
Accendo Markets research analyst Henry Croft said sterling's slip boosted the majority foreign earning FTSE 100.
However, he observed that a "marginally weaker" 'flash' Eurozone GDP reading saw the pound halt its sell-off. This was followed later by Yellen's testimony.
Campbell continued: "Yellen largely maintained the same tone seen in the (US) central bank's January meeting, claiming that a rate hike would be appropriate if inflation and wage growth matches the its current expectations."
Yellen also hinted that US President Donald Trump's fiscal policies could change the course of the Federal Reserve's 2017 journey.
Others, such as Pantheon Macro chief economist Ian Shepherdson, summed up Yellen's testimony in one line: "No real surprises; waiting for clarity on fiscal policy."
Against this backdrop, key US stocks indices such as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were softer, although those across Europe were mixed. The Dax fell, but the CAC 40 and Stoxx 50 rose.
Another drag on positive sentiment was new Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had stepped down amid allegations of improper contact with the Russian embassy in Washington DC before he took up his new position.
His resignation came as the new and controversial US administration was in the midst of preparations of key summits with other countries, beginning with Europe.
In other news, miner Anglo American said its Kumba Iron Ore operation would report underlying full-year earnings of $438m, from $238m. The operation was put up for sale last year.
Retailer Next has said John Barton would retire as non-executive chair, stepping down from 1 August and succeeded by Michael Roney, the former chief executive of Bunzl.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,268.56 -0.14%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,787.52 0.15%
techMARK (TASX) 3,342.49 -0.18%
FTSE 100 - Risers
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 1,218.00p 5.27%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 241.00p 2.73%
Capita (CPI) 527.00p 2.63%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 503.00p 1.76%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 697.20p 1.32%
Barclays (BARC) 235.25p 1.25%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,012.00p 1.05%
Pearson (PSON) 657.50p 1.00%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 66.49p 0.97%
GKN (GKN) 348.30p 0.90%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 710.50p -3.99%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,926.00p -2.11%
CRH (CRH) 2,733.00p -1.87%
BAE Systems (BA.) 605.50p -1.70%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,218.00p -1.60%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,427.00p -1.31%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,391.00p -1.31%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 4,930.00p -1.24%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,115.00p -1.24%
Sage Group (SGE) 637.50p -1.16%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Acacia Mining (ACA) 502.00p 8.03%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 345.00p 4.86%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 246.00p 3.67%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 89.60p 3.34%
Spectris (SXS) 2,490.00p 2.72%
RPC Group (RPC) 936.00p 2.52%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 473.10p 2.38%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 115.40p 2.12%
Henderson Group (HGG) 220.00p 1.80%
Grainger (GRI) 249.60p 1.67%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Evraz (EVR) 246.40p -2.95%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,088.00p -2.77%
Vectura Group (VEC) 142.10p -2.54%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 250.60p -2.22%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 6,460.00p -2.12%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 637.50p -2.07%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 274.10p -1.97%
AO World (AO.) 156.20p -1.95%
Greggs (GRG) 1,013.00p -1.94%
Victrex plc (VCT) 1,925.00p -1.79%