London close: Soft US CPI print pushes stocks lower
(ShareCast News) - With London traders looking firmly west due to an absence of domestic data, all eyes were on soft inflation data in the States that pushed Sterling sharply higher, weighing on the top flight index at the end of the week.
US consumer price data for June revealed only a slight slowdown in the headline rate of CPI, but it also marked a fourth consecutive downside surprise, so while many economists continued to expect further central bank rate hikes in 2017, they were growing somewhat more wary.
The FTSE 100 finished down 0.47% at 7,378.39, while the pound was 0.62% lower versus the euro at 0.8755 and 1.09% firmer against the dollar at 1.3078.
Echoing that weak inflation print, the results of a widely-followed consumer sentiment survey revealed that American consumers had lost hope of fresh economic stimulus from Washington.
Commenting on the day's price action, David Madden at CMC Markets UK said: "The FTSE 100 was edging lower in the morning as a lack of positive news prompted traders to lock in their profits, but the soaring sterling sent the London equity benchmark lower.
"The scene was set when the US posted inflation and retail sales numbers which came in below expectations, and then when the preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment dropped, the FTSE 100 tumbled due to the spike in sterling."
Meanwhile, on the UK corporate front, Royal Mail retreated as it announced changes to its pension plan, giving its workers a choice between a defined-benefit and a defined-contribution scheme. Although the plan was proposed to reduce risk, investors were not impressed.
Housebuilders Barratt Developments and Persimmon were lower, with some suggestions that this could be a result of profit-taking ahead of Rightmove's house price index data next Monday.
International sales, marketing and support services group DCC was a touch weaker as it said first quarter trading was in line with expectations and it expected the full year to produce "profit and growth".
Electrical and telecoms retailer Dixons Carphone fell after agreeing to sell its entire holdings in The Phone House Spain, along with its related companies Connected World Services Europe and Smarthouse, to Bilbao-based technological services firm Global Dominion Access, it announced on Friday.
Shares in ITV fell as Goldman Sachs trimmed its share price target for the the broadcaster and other European media operators as it cut it forecasts for industry advertising revenue for the second quarter but spied a rebound ahead.
Emerging markets asset manager Ashmore was on the back foot after reporting a 5% jump in fourth-quarter assets thanks to a positive investment performance and net inflows.
Recruiter Hays was trading flat, giving up earlier gains despite saying it expects full-year profits to be ahead of market forecasts, while Workspace edged up after noting strong customer demand in the first quarter.
Miners were all in favour as the dollar fell and boosted commodity prices, especially gold, with Anglo American, Fresnillo, Randgold, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore all higher.
Acacia Mining bounced after initially falling on the news that it will start paying a higher royalty to the Tanzanian government for its production of gold and copper of 6%, up from 4%, after new mining regulations were drawn up following an export dispute.
Analysts at Investec said: "The bad news is that Acacia had little choice in the matter. The good news is that it cannot pay clearance fees on concentrates it is not allowed to export or royalties on associated revenues that it is therefore not receiving. The loss of this income (extortion money?) to the government may prompt them to actually start resolving the concentrate ban issue."
Construction and infrastructure services group Carillion was the standout gainer as the company - which was hit by a massive profit warning earlier this week - said it has hired HSBC as its second financial adviser and joint corporate broker with immediate effect. Analysts suggested that it looked like HSBC will be, or are already, involved in any potential rescue fundraising.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,378.39 -0.47%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,408.36 -0.05%
techMARK (TASX) 3,488.18 -0.02%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Anglo American (AAL) 1,117.00p 2.10%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,089.00p 1.95%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,481.00p 1.58%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,870.00p 1.33%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 750.50p 1.28%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,303.00p 1.16%
Hammerson (HMSO) 584.50p 1.04%
Pearson (PSON) 635.50p 1.03%
Sage Group (SGE) 683.00p 0.89%
Standard Life (SL.) 414.50p 0.88%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 585.50p -2.50%
Royal Mail (RMG) 401.00p -2.43%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,855.00p -2.06%
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 469.40p -2.00%
Provident Financial (PFG) 2,255.00p -1.96%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 1,147.00p -1.80%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 252.30p -1.71%
Kingfisher (KGF) 293.80p -1.64%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,362.00p -1.54%
CRH (CRH) 2,756.00p -1.50%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Derwent London (DLN) 2,741.00p 3.36%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 213.10p 2.93%
IP Group (IPO) 135.00p 2.92%
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 353.70p 2.85%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 303.20p 2.81%
Drax Group (DRX) 346.70p 2.60%
Genus (GNS) 1,770.00p 2.60%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 204.40p 2.20%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,135.00p 2.16%
Hunting (HTG) 491.50p 2.07%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Sophos Group (SOPH) 439.60p -4.31%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 1,620.00p -2.70%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,254.00p -2.41%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 343.10p -2.19%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 294.80p -2.18%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,626.00p -2.17%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 157.00p -2.00%
Bellway (BWY) 3,005.00p -1.89%
Softcat (SCT) 383.40p -1.80%
Virgin Money Holdings (UK) (VM.) 300.00p -1.74%