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Sector movers: Oil and housebuilders lead the downside

Thu 17 January 2019 14:46 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Food producers and the software and computer services sectors flattered to deceive as one leading light cast a reflected glory on their peers, while oil companies and housebuilders were more consistent in their slumps on Thursday trading.

Food producers were the top riser thanks to the prime gains being made by AB Foods, even though the main source of growth for the business is its Primark retail chain.

However, sector mates Greencore, Bakkavor, Cranswick and Dairy Crest were all in the green, with Hilton Food and Tate & Lyle both lagging.

Likewise, software and computer services was boosted by the 5%-plus advance made by Sage Group after its quarterly results impressed. The sector was otherwise mixed.

Electricity was the biggest faller because one of its three stocks, SSE, went ex-dividend to the tune of 29.3p, with its shares down 3.8%.

Oil producers were almost all in the red, with twin colossi BP and Shell down 0.9% and 1.1% that was a great weight on the FTSE 100 again.

One sector that was universally moving lower was housebuilders after a bleak survey of UK surveyors showed that the outlook for the housing market over the next three months was the worst on record in December as uncertainty over Brexit took its toll.

The net balance of surveyors expecting sales to drop came in at -28, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors report, marking the worst reading since the series began in 1999. This came alongside the fourth consecutive negative reading of surveyors reporting house price falls over the past three months.

Looking ahead, the outlook for prices over the next 12 months was broadly flat. With the exception of London and the South East, prices were anticipated to either rise or hold steady across the other UK regions over this time horizon.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: "It is hardly a surprise with ongoing uncertainty about the path to Brexit dominating the news agenda, that even allowing for the normal patterns around the Christmas holidays, buyer interest in purchasing property in December was subdued. This is also very clearly reflected in a worsening trend in near term sales expectations. Looking a little further out, there is some comfort provided by the suggestion that transactions nationally should stabilise as some of the fog lifts, but that moment feels a way off for many respondents to the survey."

Top performing sectors so far today

Food Producers & Processors 7,010.62 +2.96%

Software & Computer Services 1,832.08 +1.53%

Fixed Line Telecommunications 2,690.65 +1.28%

Tobacco 30,129.41 +1.00%

Industrial Transportation 2,289.51 +0.36%

Bottom performing sectors so far today

Electricity 6,895.76 -3.31%

Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 11,474.83 -2.95%

Aerospace and Defence 4,613.16 -2.27%

Household Goods & Home Construction 15,407.09 -2.12%

Electronic & Electrical Equipment 6,431.42 -1.90%

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