Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 ends day flat as borrowing figures hit markets

The FTSE 100 ended the day relatively flat and the pound struggled to make gains as higher-than-expected Government borrowing figures weighed on markets.

London's blue chip index ended the day down 0.15% or 11.05 points at 7,485.29, despite gains across Europe where the French Cac 40 and German Dax rose nearly 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively.

Global stocks were largely higher despite the shock of the terror attack in Manchester, which left 22 dead and dozens injured.

The pound was flat against the dollar at 1.299, but managed to rise 0.2% versus the euro to 1.159.

UK markets were taking their cue from the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, which showed that public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, rose by £1.2 billion to £10.4 billion in April, marking the highest amount borrowed for the month since 2014.

Jasper Lawler, a senior market analyst at London Capital Group said: " Data showing a larger than expected UK budget deficit in April weighed on the British pound and set back attempts by GBP/USD to move beyond 1.30.

"The narrowing of the polls, talk of quitting Brexit talks and the Tory social care U-turn have given currency traders pause for thought."

In oil markets, Brent crude prices rose 0.5% to around 53.98 US dollars per barrel, amid hopes that Thursday's Opec meeting in Vienna will lead to an agreement to extend oil supply cuts into 2018.

In UK stocks, Severn Trent was one of the biggest risers on the FTSE 100, up 43p to 2,491p.

It comes after the utility giant reported a 4.3% jump in underlying pre-tax proft to £525 million in the year to March, boosted by fewer leaks and floodings.

Royal Dutch Shell's 'B' shares edged higher by 4p to 2,156.5p after shareholders rejected a proposal that would force the company to adopt emissions targets and bring the company in line with Paris Climate Agreement goals.

Topps Tiles shares tumbled 6.75p to 96.25p as pre-tax profits in the six months to April 1 fell 5.9% to £9.5 million, with the company citing a slowing housing market and challenging market conditions.

Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One dropped 4.6p to 237.4p after seeing annual profits dive by 22% following a £47 million hit from restructuring its film arm.

De La Rue climbed 19p to 665.5p as the banknote maker notched up a 6% rise in annual pre-tax profits to £58.2 million annual, with the first growth in its passport printing business in three years helping offset a fall in currency earnings.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Babcock International up 28p to 969.5p, easyJet up 32p to 1,301p, Convatec up 7.4p to 313.4p, and Severn Trent up 43p to 2,491p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Kingfisher down 8.9p to 359.2p, Shire, down 113.5p to 4,710p, WPP, down 37p to 1,673p, and Mediclinic International, down 18p to 869p.