Belfast Telegraph

Investors keep their options open ahead of Jackson Hole meet-up

Currency markets were flat and global stocks were subdued as investors held their breath for news from central bank heads gathered in Wyoming for the Jackson Hole symposium.

Sterling continued to hover near eight-year lows against the euro, up a mere 0.04% at 1.084, but was flat against the US dollar near one month lows of 1.279.

The FTSE 100 made marginal gains, ending the day up 0.33% or 24.41 points at 7,407.06, while the French Cac 40 fell 0.04% and the German Dax rose 0.05%.

Investors were poised for comments from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and Fed boss Janet Yellen who were gathered with top policy experts and politicians in Wyoming.

Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: "The ECB has already hinted that Draghi won't use Friday's speech to signal any major shift in the central bank's policies.

"Similar tentativeness is expected from Yellen, though investors will be on the lookout for signs relating to a) when the Fed will start reducing its balance sheet - something that could happen as early as next month - and b) whether there will be another rate hike before the end of 2017.

"The only frustration is that both speeches are rather late in the date, Yellen at 5pm BST, Draghi at 8pm, meaning the markets may be in an anticipatory state for most of Friday."

Brent crude prices tumbled 1.6% to 51.66 US dollars per barrel as investors reacted to Energy Information Administration data showing US crude production rising further, reviving concerns about oversupply.

In UK stocks, easyJet shares were the worst performing stock on the FTSE 100, falling 56p to 1,214p, after Exane BNP downgraded its stock to "underperform" from "neutral" and cut its price target for the airline's stock from 1,250p to 1,100p.

Away from the top tier, Dixons Carphone plunged 23% or 54.5p to 180.8p after the firm warned over a Brexit profit hit as soaring costs for new mobile phones meant people were holding on to older models for longer.

Petrofac fell 18p to 422p. Italian authorities have ordered property seizures and slapped Petrofac's chief executive Ayman Asfari with a 300,000 euro (£276,000) fine after accusing the oil services firm boss of insider trading.

Mr Asfari has denied the claims and is calling on authorities to revoke their decision as he was not given a chance to defend himself before being hit with sanctions.

Revolution Bars Group shares surged 22.75p to 208.5p as both Slug And Lettuce owner Stonegate and rival Deltic Group tabled fresh offers for the nightclub operator.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Provident Financial up 87p at 748p, CRH up 103p at 2,793p, WPP up 42p at 1,462p and Mediclinic International up 18.5p at 754.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were easyJet down 56p at 1,214p, Whitbread down 99p at 3,702p, Marks and Spencer Groupo down 6.2p at 316.4p, and TUI down 22p at 1,308p.

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