Belfast Telegraph

London market rebounds as geopolitical concerns subside

Fears over North Korea and the tensions in Spain surrounding the Catalonian independence referendum faded, boosting the FTSE 100 Index.

London’s top-flight index regained its poise on Wednesday as investors brushed aside geopolitical concerns.

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 27.77 points at 7,313.51 as fears faded over North Korea and the tensions in Spain surrounding the Catalonian independence referendum.

Across Europe, Germany’s Dax was up by 0.4% and the Cac 40 in France rose by 0.3%.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Stock markets in Europe are higher today as dealers overlook the political uncertainties that have been doing the rounds lately.

“The German election, the Catalan question and the North Korea situation were all shrugged off today by investors.

“There has been no new developments on those fronts, so traders felt a bit confident about buying into the market.”

On the currency markets, the pound was 0.4% lower against the US dollar at 1.340.

Exchange rate graphic

The greenback strengthened after US Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen confirmed her support for an interest rate rise on Tuesday.

However, a bright economic update from the UK retail sector helped sterling pare some losses, with sales growing at their fastest pace for two years in the year to September.

Some 56% of retailers reported an increase in sales this month compared with a year ago, while 15% said they were down, giving a balance of +42% – the highest since September 2015, according to the CBI Distributive Trades Survey of 117 firms.

The pound was also down 0.2% versus the euro at 1.138.

In oil, Brent crude dropped 1.2% to 57.83 US dollars a barrel after US refiners kicked back into gear following Hurricane Harvey last month.

Focusing on UK stocks, troubled infrastructure giant Carillion saw its shares jump by as much as a quarter on speculation a Middle East investor is planning a takeover bid for the group.

An unnamed Middle East construction firm is understood to be lining up a potential offer for Carillion in the wake of its recent dramatic share price falls.

The suitor is also keen to gain access to the firm’s prize London listing, according to the report in City AM.

Shares were up more than 20%, or 9.8p to 56.3p.

However, PZ Cussons saw its stock value tumble after it became the latest firm to warn over a tough consumer market in the UK as Brexit-fuelled inflation puts households under pressure.

The Manchester-based firm, which also makes tanning range St Tropez, said it is “increasingly clear” that shoppers are reining in their spending amid the squeeze on family finances as the weak pound sends the prices of goods and services soaring.

Shares fell more than 1%, or 5.9p to 323.5p, as the firm said it was seeing tough trading conditions in many of its global markets, “which have been evident in the first quarter and which are expected to continue for the full year”.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Pearson up 22.5p to 606p, Royal Bank of Scotland up 9p to 270.8p, Lloyds Banking Group up 2.2p to 67.2p, Prudential up 47p to 1,763.5p.

The biggest fallers were Randgold Resources down 175p to 7,300p, National Grid down 17.9p to 925.3p, Fresnillo down 23p to 1,399p, United Utilities down 13.5p to 840.5p.

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