Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 lags behind European peers after ECB plays down tapering plans

The euro’s decline pushed the pound higher.

The FTSE 100 lagged behind its European counterparts which were buoyed by a drop in the euro amid news that the European Central Bank (ECB) will start cutting its bond buy programme in January.

London’s blue chip index ended the day up 0.5% or 39.29 points to 7,486.5 points, while the likes of the French CAC 40 and German Dax jumped 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.

Its continental peers were boosted by euro currency moves, as investors reacted to the ECB’s intentions to taper its monthly bond buying programme from 60 billion euros (£53 billion) to 30 billion euros (£26 billion), starting in January.

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European Central Bank building

But ECB president Mario Draghi also played down the eurozone’s inflation trajectory, signalling that a rate hike might be further off than previously expected.

Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: “It was clear from the start of Draghi’s press conference that he was intent on maintaining his typically dovish tone.

“He claimed the ECB had ‘recalibrated’, not tapered, its monetary policy; argued that the Eurozone’s inflation outlook is way behind the US when asked about the Fed’s more aggressive tightening; and, most damningly for the euro, stated that the quantitative easing programme is still ‘open-ended’.

“Those kinds of comments kick any ECB rate hike well into the future – maybe even until after Draghi’s tenure at the top comes to an end in October 2019.”

Sterling was up 0.35% versus the euro at 1.126, while the pound’s slid 0.6% against US dollar to 1.318.

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In oil markets, Brent crude prices rose 0.5% to $58.62, having rebounded from a 1% fall a day earlier sparked by data that showed a further build up in US oil inventories.

In UK stocks, Barclays fell 14.6p to 182.4p despite reporting a rise in pre-tax profit from £837 million to £1.1 billion in the third quarter.

David Madde, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said shares were impacted by disappointment over Barclays’ market division.

“It was the drop in trading revenue was caught investors’ attention, and income derived for dealing on the financial markets declined by 34%.

“The size of the decline spooked traders, as US banks posted on declines that were in the mid-teens percentage wise.”

Barclays was the worst performer on the FTSE 100.

Merlin shares edged higher by 1.2p to 369.3p amid news that it would invest £265 million to open a Legoland theme park in New York as it presses ahead with global expansion plans.

The owner of Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers said that the new Legoland will open in 2020 and be located in Goshen, Orange County, 60 miles north-west of the Big Apple.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Unilever up 136.5p to 4,225p, Relx up 49p to 1,733p, British American Tobacco up 122.5p to 4,966p, and Bunzl up 47p to 2,288p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Barclays down 14.6p to 182.4p, Barratt Developments down 29.5p to 669p, GlaxoSmithKline down 49p to 1,380p, and Shire down 74p to 3,523p.

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