FTSE hovers, set for a weekly gain despite financials dragging
HOME CAREERS CONTACT US LOGIN

FTSE hovers, set for a weekly gain despite financials dragging
(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

* FTSE 100 steadies

* Set for modest weekly gain

* Banks remain weak

By Helen Reid

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Britain's major stock index steadied on Friday at the end of a busy week of central bank meetings, with financials sagging again while BT was boosted by a deal with Sky.

The FTSE 100 inched around 0.1 percent lower in line with mid- and small-cap indices. The leading companies index was set for a small gain on the week, having hit its highest level in a month on Wednesday.

Financials weighed heaviest, continuing their slide from the previous session as investors' building enthusiasm around bank stocks - expected to gain from U.S. tax reform and rising interest rates - dissipated.

Thursday's Bank of England and ECB meetings made clear that at least for the European region lenders would have longer to wait for monetary policy to tighten.

"It's hardly new news that the central banks are telling us again that stimulus withdrawals are going to be very gradual," said Ian Williams, economist and strategist at Peel Hunt.

"The long-term trend in rates will be up, but I think it's going to take a long time so the financials are responding the most to that," he added.

HSBC, Standard Chartered and Barclays fell 0.6, 0.9 and 1.4 percent, the top drags to the FTSE 100.

BT rose 1.1 percent after striking a deal with Sky to carry each other's channels.

Domestic stocks were a touch weaker, as investors awaited the fallout from the second day of the EU summit.

High-street stalwart Next traded 1.4 percent lower, while housebuilders Ashtead, Persimmon and Barratt Developments were down 0.9 to 1.4 percent.

Utilities gained as investors moved into more defensive sectors.

With few large stock moves to puncture calm trading, broker ratings drove Glencore and Segro higher.

JP Morgan analysts upgraded Glencore to 'overweight', boosting the stock up 0.9 percent.

Analysts at the bank said: "Growth, capital discipline and valuations support higher beta."

Commercial real estate investment trust Segro gained 1.5 percent after Liberum upgraded to 'buy', citing greater growth in the industrial sector around London.

"Investment demand for industrial estate continues to drive strong capital growth," said Liberum analysts.

"We expect full-year results to confirm sustained strong occupier demand supporting like-for-like rental growth and development completions," they added.

Small-cap electrical components firm Luceco sank 37 percent after the firm said the group's financial controller resigned as a result of an accounting error.

The gap between winners and losers in UK stocks has widened recently, investors said.

"Investors are definitely focusing on the stocks that are displaying positive earnings momentum, " said Peel Hunt's Williams.

"Although they are chuntering a bit about valuation, being expensive hasn't really been a barrier to outperformance."

Overall on the FTSE 100, analysts have persistently been revising earnings expectations lower.

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

2017-12-15 12:09:20


© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.
Most read today
Most read yesterday
Send e-mail to for any enquiries or see Contact Details for phone numbers
Home   •   Terms & conditions   •   PAIA   •   Privacy Policy   •   Security Notice   •   Contact Details
Market Statistics are calculated by Sharenet and are therefore not the official JSE Market Statistics. The calculation/derivation may include underlying JSE data.
© 2017 SHARENET (PTY) Ltd, Cape Town, South Africa