London stocks and sterling finish in the red

Stocks were under pressure on Thursday, after a mixed update from the European Central Bank and a slow start to trading in the US.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.17%, shedding 12.41 points to close at 7,489.05.

Meanwhile the German Dax dropped 1.28% and the French Cac was 0.5% lower.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The ECB chief (Mario Draghi) warned about the state of the manufacturing sector, and cautioned about the risks to the economy.

“The fact Mr Draghi called on fiscal stimulus suggests that he is afraid that monetary tools won’t fix the region’s problems. The update wasn’t as dovish as expected, and that prompted the sell-off in stocks.”

London’s top shares were also affected by American markets later in the day.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: “Though the day started well for the FTSE the index slipped in early afternoon, taking its cue from a nervous start of the day on Wall Street induced by big declines at car makers and ahead of the next round of earnings.”

The pound lost some of the ground it gained the previous day, dropping 0.22% on the US dollar to 1.246 and 0.29% on the euro to 1.117.

The euro had initially dropped ahead of the ECB meeting, but quickly bounced back up.

In the oil markets, a barrel of Brent Crude oil was trading at 63.62 US dollars, up 0.82%.

In company news, AJ Bell saw shares rise after it grew the assets under its administration by 6% to £50.7 billion in the past three months.

Drugs giant AstraZeneca’s shares were up 491p to 6,850p after it posted its fourth successive quarter of rising sales. Shares in the drug company rose 5.5% to 6,708p in early trading on Thursday.

The stock was up 6.8p to 435p.

Sage Group was down 84.6p to 732p after the company reported a decline in software revenue.

Metro Bank shares were down following its post-close update on Wednesday, when the lender said it would seek a new chairman and unveiled a drop in first-half profits.

It closed 91.4p lower at 385p.

Pub giant Fuller, Smith & Turner hailed a solid start to the new financial year, despite the impact of selling its brewing business earlier this year.

Shares gained 10p to close at 1,075p.

Catering giant Compass Group has upped its growth expectations for the year again, following a strong performance in its American division.

Shares were up 53.5p to 2,018p

NCC Group reported higher revenues and profits as the British cyber-security group was boosted by a string of high-profile data breaches.

Shares were up 4.8p to 176.6p

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Astrazeneca up 491p to 6,850p, Compass Group up 53.5p to 2,018p, Coca-Cola HBC up 52p to 2,793p, and Whitbread up 80p to 4,540p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Sage Group down 84.6p to 732p, SSE down 85.5p to 1,079.5p, Relx down 71.5p to 1,867.5p, and Rentokil Initial down 15.3p to 408.6p.

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