FTSE flat at close as Wall Street starts first half of 2022 in weak fashion

The FTSE 100 ended the day down 0.63 points, or 0.01%, at 7,168.65.

A sign in Paternoster Square outside the London Stock Exchange (Nick Ansell/PA)
A sign in Paternoster Square outside the London Stock Exchange (Nick Ansell/PA)

London’s top index of firms finished virtually flat at the end of a choppy session which saw the FTSE spend most of the day lower.

Nevertheless, it recuperated almost all of its losses despite a slump in sentiment in the US as traders continued to worry over the economic slowdown.

The FTSE 100 ended the day down 0.63 points, or 0.01%, at 7,168.65.

“The losses of the first half do not seem to have created any immediate desire to buy the dip, it seems,” commented Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

“An initial recovery for US markets from the lows of the morning has given way to more losses, and even the prospect of a long weekend in the US hasn’t tempted the dip buyers in.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the improvement in trading was enough to help the other main markets into the green.

The German Dax increased by 0.23% by the end of the session, while the French Cac increased by 0.14%.

On Wall Street, equities started July as they finished last month as growth fears took over from inflation worries.

Meanwhile, sterling rebounded against the dollar despite a sharper than expected slowdown in manufacturing growth last month, according to influential PMI figures.

Meanwhile, the pound was up 0.46% against the dollar at 1.205 and was up 0.22% against the euro at 1.157 at the close.

In company news, Chemring finished higher after the UK fraud office closed a four-year probe into alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering at the grenade and ammunition manufacturer and one of its subsidiaries without prosecution.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) opened its investigation into the activities of Chemring, its subsidiary Chemring Technology Solutions and associated persons in 2018 after the division handed its own report to the SFO.

Shares rose by 5p to 320p after the company confirmed the matter is now closed.

Vet firm CVS Group dropped in value after confirming it will take a £12 million hit to profits after being forced to abort an acquisition following an investigation by the market competition watchdog.

CVS acquired Quality Pet Care Limited for £20.4 million in August last year but announced it has now sold the company for £9 million after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised concerns.

The group closed 19p lower at 1,637p on Friday.

Wizz Air made gains during the session after brokers at Redburn upgraded the Central European airliner to a Buy rating despite recent disruption from staffing difficulties.

Shares in Wizz moved up 104.5p to 1,858.5p at the close of play.

The price of oil lifted back slightly after tumbling as OPEC+ confirmed it would only hike output next month as much as previously announced despite tight global supplies.

Brent crude increased by 1.62% to 110.8 US dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 32.8p at 814p, SSE, up 61.5p at 1,677.5p, Rolls-Royce, up 3.13p at 86.08p, Melrose, up 5p at 154.7p, and Compass Group, up 48p at 1,728p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Harbour Energy, down 31.2p at 332.6p, Glencore, down 18.75p at 426.35p, Anglo American, down 115.5p at 2,821.5p, Endeavour Mining, down 63p at 1,639p, and Abrdn, down 5.35p at 154.5p.

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