Political visions at CBI conference fail to excite the markets
With the leaders of the main political parties outlining their plans for British businesses at the CBI conference on Monday, you would be forgiven for thinking that the stock exchange might have veered wildly as each new proposal was put forward.
But, the internationally-focused FTSE 100 remained stubbornly flat throughout the day, preferring instead to try to unpick the latest updates coming out over the weekend on the US-China trade talks.
The FTSE 100 closed the day up 4.76 points, or 0.1%, at 7,307.70.
There was some movement in the pound, rising 0.44% against the US dollar and 0.28% against the euro. A pound was worth 1.2966 dollars and 1.1700 euros as markets closed.
But analysts put this down to new opinion polls which show the Conservatives on course for a majority at the General Election.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, explained why focus has shifted back to the US-China talks, which impacts European markets due to the FTSE 100 and others relying on Chinese growth to boost business.
He said: “It is believed that China are not happy that President Trump is not interested in rolling back on tariffs.
“The news hit stocks around Europe but it is a minor setback in the process. The trade spat has been going on for over one year, and this is the latest hiccup. It is likely that this is a ploy by China, but for now dealers are keen to adopt a more risk-off approach.”
The French Cac 40 closed down 0.16% and the German Dax lost 0.26%.
In company news, bussinessman Robert Tchenguiz launched a scathing attack on the board of FirstGroup, where he has a 4.7% economic interest, accusing them of misleading the stock market.
He claimed the results from the train and bus operator, which were released on Thursday, were ambiguous, misleading and confusing “at best” and challenged the “defunct” strategy laid out by the company in May.
The public spat initially sent shares down, but following a feisty defence from FirstGroup, which said it would be willing to sell off more parts of its business, the stock price ended up rising 2.9p to 116.6p.
Insurance giant Aviva put its plans to sell the company’s Singapore and China divisions on hold, but confirmed that it is continuing with a strategic review of its operations in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Indonesia, which could result in a sale.
Shares plunged 19.9p to 414.5p, making it the biggest faller on the FTSE 100.
Elsewhere, software business Sage sold its payments service arm for £232 million to Elavon, a subsidiary of US firm Bancorp.
The UK-listed firm told investors it had secured the deal to sell Sage Pay, three months after it announced plans to auction off the division. Shares rose 3.2p to 740.8p.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Healthcare, up 136p to 2,504.00p, M&G, up 7.4p to 233.40p, Sainsbury, up 4.8p to 209.60p, Hargreaves Lansdown, up 37p to 1,776.00p, and SSE, up 27.5p to 1,336.50p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Aviva, down 19.9p to 414.50p, Burberry, down 69p to 2,083.00p, Johnson Matthey, down 71p to 3,165.00p, 3i Group, down 20p to 1,043.00p, and Glencore, down 4.1p to 239.50p.