European luxury downturn weighs on FTSE 100

Shares in the FTSE 100 closed down slightly on Wednesday.

August Graham
Wednesday 20 March 2024 17:26 GMT
Shares fell slightly in London on Wednesday (Yui Mok/PA)
Shares fell slightly in London on Wednesday (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Shares in London’s top index treaded water again on Wednesday, as the rising companies were enough to offset the fall of Burberry and others.

The company ended the day close to the bottom of the FTSE 100 amid a wider sell-off in the European luxury retail market, after France’s Kering warned that its sales in the first quarter of the year are expected to fall.

It blamed a drop in sales at its subsidiary Gucci.

Elsewhere traders were largely waiting to see what happens when the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England announce their interest rate decisions on Wednesday and Thursday.

Both are expected to keep rates unchanged, but markets will look out for any sign of when the anticipated rate cuts will start, and how much they will cut.

“News that UK price growth continues to weaken has led to some losses for the pound versus the dollar, but any downside has been limited as investors await the Fed’s statement tonight,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“While the decision is not in much doubt, markets are on edge to see if Jerome Powell will reduce the expected number of hikes this year, a move likely to revive the US dollar.”

The FTSE 100 ended the day down 0.92 points, or 0.01%, at 7737.38.

In Europe Germany’s Dax index rose 0.14%, and the Cac 40 in Paris closed 0.49% lower.

In New York the S&P 500 had gained 0.05%, while the Dow Jones was 0.15% higher shortly after European markets closed.

The pound traded 0.04% lower against the dollar at 1.2718 and had risen 0.03% against the euro at 1.1711.

In company news, Prudential crashed to the bottom of the FTSE, down 4.53% despite the company saying that profit rose last year.

Markets are likely worried about the company’s exposure to the Chinese property market.

Shares in Greggs seemed largely unworried by a multi-hour payments outage at some of its branches in the UK, which forced them to close on Wednesday.

The issue was sorted out by the afternoon and Greggs’s shares closed down 0.42%, having not fallen much lower during the day.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were St James’s Place, up 18.9p to 437.2p, Melrose Industries, up 25.2p to 646p, Halma, up 85p to 2,293p, Ashtead, up 178p to 5,490p, and JD Sports, up 3.1p to 113.65p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Prudential, down 35.4p to 745.2p, Burberry, down 40.5p to 1,189.5p, Smith & Nephew, down 25p to 1,033p, Weir Group, down 45.5p to 1,951p, and Unilever, down 57p to 3,872p.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in