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London midday: Stocks a little weaker amid Evergrande uncertainty

Fri 24 September 2021 11:59 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - London stocks were still a little weaker by midday on Friday amid ongoing concerns about Chinese property developer Evergrande.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 7,062.87, with investors none the wiser as to whether Evergrande has met its latest bond interest payment.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: "There has been no update on the coupon payment which fell due yesterday, but increasingly there are some hopes that any default would have limited contagion outside of China, due to its lesser links with the global system."

On home shores, the latest survey from GfK showed that consumer confidence slid in September as concerns about rising food and energy prices mount. GfK's consumer confidence index fell five points from August to -13.

All the individual measures used to compile the widely-followed index declined. The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months lost six points to 5, while expectations for the general economic situation in the coming year lost 10 points to -16 and the major purchase index was down three points at -6. The savings index was down three points to 22.

GfK attributed the decline to growing anxiety about rises in the cost of living.

Joe Staton, client strategy director, said: "On the back of concerns about rising prices for fuel and food, the growth in headline inflation, tax hikes, empty shelves and the end of the furlough scheme, September sees consumers slamming on the brakes as those already in economic hardship anticipate a potential cost of living crisis.

"When consumer confidence drops, shoppers tend to spend less and this dampens the overall economic prospects for the UK. This really is an unwelcome picture going into 2022 and beyond."

Elsewhere, the latest distributive trades survey from the Confederation of British Industry showed retail sales grew at the weakest pace since March in the 12 months to September, while growth in orders placed with suppliers also slowed.

The CBI's headline sales balance for retailers fell to +11% in September from +60 the month before, while retail orders also grew at a slower pace in the year to September, with a "slight acceleration" expected next month.

Sales were seen as poor for the time of year in September, and were expected to be "broadly average" for the time of year in October.

"Demand cooled for retailers in the year to September after running red hot over the summer, pushing sales below seasonal norms for the first time since March," said the CBI's principal economist Ben Jones. "But volumes are expected to return to more typical levels for the time of year next month. Low stock adequacy remains a concern across the distribution sector."

In equity markets, JD Sports fell after Nike's first-quarter sales missed expectations and the company cut its full-year sales forecast.

Fund management services provider JTC slumped after Shore Capital downgraded the stock to 'sell' from 'hold', saying it was time to take some profits after recent share price strength.

On the upside, travel and leisure stocks gained ground, with engine maker Rolls-Royce, British Airways owner IAG, caterer Compass, Cineworld, easyJet, Tui and SSP all up.

AstraZeneca was a high riser after it said that its Lynparza drug has met the primary endpoint in a trial for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Mitie rose as the facilities management company lifted annual profit guidance after a strong second quarter, boosted by the award of more Covid-19-related contracts.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,062.87 -0.22%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 23,654.90 -0.74%

techMARK (TASX) 4,725.12 -0.44%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 132.30p 4.22%

AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,843.00p 2.02%

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 175.34p 1.81%

Compass Group (CPG) 1,490.50p 1.50%

Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 5,900.00p 1.20%

Anglo American (AAL) 2,626.00p 1.04%

Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,533.20p 0.84%

BP (BP.) 319.80p 0.65%

Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,413.50p 0.64%

Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,533.00p 0.60%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rentokil Initial (RTO) 592.00p -3.05%

Croda International (CRDA) 8,834.00p -2.64%

Bunzl (BNZL) 2,473.00p -2.64%

Rightmove (RMV) 723.60p -2.61%

Halma (HLMA) 3,063.00p -2.36%

JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 1,105.50p -2.08%

Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,194.00p -2.07%

SEGRO (SGRO) 1,266.00p -1.97%

Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 15,960.00p -1.94%

Aveva Group (AVV) 3,916.00p -1.93%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Cineworld Group (CINE) 72.70p 6.57%

easyJet (EZJ) 677.40p 3.61%

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 333.10p 3.45%

Pantheon International (PIN) 3,020.00p 3.07%

Centamin (DI) (CEY) 92.16p 2.42%

SSP Group (SSPG) 273.90p 2.13%

Mitie Group (MTO) 72.40p 2.12%

Rank Group (RNK) 176.20p 1.85%

Energean (ENOG) 866.00p 1.70%

Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 207.10p 1.32%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Darktrace (DARK) 911.00p -7.51%

JTC (JTC) 724.00p -5.36%

Auction Technology Group (ATG) 1,364.00p -4.62%

Harbour Energy (HBR) 342.20p -4.57%

Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 2,200.00p -4.35%

Games Workshop Group (GAW) 10,810.00p -2.88%

Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) 224.40p -2.86%

Vistry Group (VTY) 1,225.50p -2.85%

Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 1,574.00p -2.72%

Genus (GNS) 5,595.00p -2.70%

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