London close: Nothing much ado amid investor caution on Brexit-eve day
(ShareCast News) - Stocks in London drifted through Brexit-eve day to a positive bias as investors displayed caution ahead of Prime Minister Theresa triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday.
Investors were also greeted by a flurry of FTSE 350 and AIM results news that took time to filter through, although the UK and European economics diaries were essentially bare.
After the closing bell, the FTSE 100 was up 0.68% to 7,343.42, and the FTSE 250 was up 0.28% to 18,953.34. Both remained a short distance behind the year's highs-to-date, caught in sideways trade.
Equities markets in Europe did modestly well, the Euro Stoxx 50, Dax and Cac 40 all advancing, while in the US all the main market gauges were moving higher.
"Nothing much happened this afternoon, the market caught between yesterday's Trump-dive and tomorrow's Article 50-triggering," said Spreadex financial analyst Connor Campbell.
He added that the FTSE had benefited on Tuesday from some Brexit-jitters induced sterling weakness.
Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets UK, said if, in the coming weeks, UK economic data still remained resilient and immune to all the shocks, that could be very positive for the currency and thus for the equity market.
"It is highly likely that the short squeeze could push the sterling towards the level of $1.30 in no time and we also see some new record highs for the FTSE 100 index," he added.
Michael Hewson of CMC Markets UK said European stocks had struggled for direction today after Monday's declines.
"While sentiment over the past few days has been on the negative side as a result of US President Trump's local difficulties, the absence of any significant positive drivers is keeping investors adopt a cautious tone as we head into the end of the month and the quarter."
Turning to corporate news, Tesco was reasonably firmer this afternoon after it agreed to pay a £129m fine to the Serious Fraud office and agreed to a finding of "market abuse" by the Financial Conduct Authority for overstating its expected profits in August 2014.
The grocery titan was also in focus following a report that two of the largest shareholders in the supermarket retailer were advising against its £3.7bn takeover of wholesaler Booker, whose shares dropped.
Building materials Wolseley surged after it revealed a name change, a jump in half-year profits and its intention to exit Nordic operations.
United Utilities was another blue chip stock gaining, after it said current full year trading was in line with expectations, with group revenue expected to be slightly lower than last year.
Insurer Aviva advanced after a report that it was looking to sell Friends Provident International in a deal that could fetch up to $750m.
Elsewhere on the FTSE, miners such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Glencore regained some of their footing after falls on Monday. Financial stocks Standard Chartered, Barclays and Prudential all rose for similar reasons.
In the meantime, a bounce in the price of West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil translated to gains in the shares of Shell and BP.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,343.42 0.68%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,953.34 0.28%
techMARK (TASX) 3,470.45 0.35%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Wolseley (WOS) 5,130.00p 5.06%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 752.40p 4.07%
Pearson (PSON) 656.00p 3.63%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,220.00p 2.81%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,227.00p 2.51%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,132.00p 2.50%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,005.00p 2.24%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 363.60p 2.11%
Glencore (GLEN) 311.60p 1.91%
Aviva (AV.) 534.50p 1.91%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,612.00p -1.43%
easyJet (EZJ) 999.00p -1.33%
Hammerson (HMSO) 562.50p -1.23%
Intu Properties (INTU) 271.80p -1.09%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 264.90p -1.08%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 332.30p -0.69%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 1,037.00p -0.67%
SSE (SSE) 1,496.00p -0.60%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,000.00p -0.60%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 235.40p -0.59%
FTSE 250 - Risers
AA (AA.) 270.90p 5.75%
Evraz (EVR) 218.00p 3.96%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 213.90p 3.83%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 566.50p 3.74%
CYBG (CYBG) 273.90p 3.59%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 820.50p 3.47%
Redrow (RDW) 516.00p 3.20%
BGEO Group (BGEO) 3,192.00p 3.03%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 926.00p 3.00%
FirstGroup (FGP) 132.00p 2.96%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
OneSavings Bank (OSB) 395.70p -6.21%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 86.10p -3.86%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,893.00p -3.32%
Capita (CPI) 553.00p -2.98%
Carillion (CLLN) 214.00p -2.23%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 855.00p -2.06%
Berendsen (BRSN) 761.00p -2.06%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 340.10p -2.02%
Greencore Group (GNC) 248.90p -2.01%
Card Factory (CARD) 268.50p -2.01%