FTSE closes down despite rises in New York

European markets closed lower on Thursday.

August Graham
Thursday 21 December 2023 17:19 GMT
Shares in the City fell on Thursday (Steven Paston/PA)
Shares in the City fell on Thursday (Steven Paston/PA) (PA Archive)

The FTSE 100 has given back some of Wednesday’s big gains amid falls for some retailers and utility companies.

The FTSE 100 fell 20.95 points, or 0.27% to end the day at 7694.73.

It has been a week of economic data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). On Wednesday the FTSE soared on news that inflation had fallen faster than expected, on Thursday it was revealed that Government borrowing was higher than expected, putting a dampener on markets.

On Friday economists will find out if the ONS plans to revise third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures, and what retail sales looked like in November.

Ahead of the ONS report, shares in retailer Burberry and Ocado were doing poorly on Thursday, hitting the bottom of the FTSE.

In Europe markets were also in the red. Frankfurt’s Dax index fell 0.27%, while the Cac 40 in Paris had closed down 0.16%.

But American stocks were doing better. In New York a little while after markets had closed in Europe the S&P 500 had gained 0.47%, while the Dow Jones was 0.33% higher.

“The strongest US GDP expansion since Q4 2021, initial jobless claims unexpectedly holding at two-month lows and rapidly falling US Treasury yields gave US stock indices another boost,” said Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“While they are back trading close to their recent record highs, European equity indices see a session in the red.”

On currency markets the pound had gained 0.22% against the dollar at 1.2666 and had dropped 0.19% against the euro at 1.1527.

On the company news front, London was quiet on Thursday, as is normally the case as Christmas nears.

Shares in Hipgnosis Songs Fund closed down 0.9% after the music royalty company said that its pre-tax operating loss expanded to nearly 64 million dollars (£51 million) in the six months to September, up from just 17 million dollars (£14 million) a year earlier.

Revenue also fell significantly over the period, the company said.

Meanwhile, the Co-operative Bank said that it had entered talks with Coventry Building Society which could see the two firms merge.

The discussions are “exclusive,” Co-op said.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Vodafone, up 1.52p to 69p, Melrose Industries, up 4.4p to 566.6p, Anglo American, up 12p to 1,924p, BAE Systems, up 6.5p to 1,093.5p, and Pearson, up 5.6p to 956.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Burberry, down 62.5p to 1,429p, Ocado, down 31.8p to 757.2p, United Utilities, down 32.5p to 1,068p, British American Tobacco, down 51.5p to 2,284.5p, and Airtel Africa, down 2.1p to 127.7p.

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