Weak sentiment in Asia weighs on London trade
LONDON’S markets drifted lower as weak sentiment in Asia hit early trading.
A rebound in US stocks helped most of Europe perk up in the afternoon session but it was not enough to completely reverse the slump.
It came after a strong start to the week which had seen the FTSE buoyed by the extension of furlough and other financial support measures from the Chancellor’s Budget.
The FTSE 100 closed 24.59 points, or 0.37%, lower at 6,650.88 on Thursday.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “The Asian session saw painful losses thanks to the declines witnessed last night in the US and that has seeped into the sentiment in this part of the world, although the declines are moderate.
“Today’s bearish moves in European markets breaks their three-day winning streak.
“In London, banks have handed back some of the impressive gains they racked up yesterday on account of the optimism injected into the market by the Budget.”
Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 both opened slightly lower amid caution around bond yields before making gains as sentiment steadied.
In Europe, the major markets lifted slightly off intra-day lows as trading activity calmed in the US. The German Dax decreased by 0.19% and the French Cac moved 0.01% higher.
Meanwhile, sterling hit its highest figure against the dollar for a week as it carried over some the bounce it saw after Rishi Sunak’s Budget on Wednesday.
The pound increased by 0.33% versus the US dollar to 1.399 and was up 0.5% against the euro at 1.162.
Mining stocks were broadly lower, with Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP all in the red after they were impacted by the fall in copper prices.
In company news, Aggreko was the top performer on the FTSE 250 after it was reported that the portable power generator has been approached by another suitor regarding a potential takeover. Bloomberg reported that Platinum Equity had approached the business over a deal as it continues takeover talks with a rival buyout consortium. Investors cheered the news and shares jumped 66p higher to 889p.
Revolution Bars also saw its shares surge in value after the hospitality business said it plans to reopen 20 of its bars on April 12. It closed 3.9p higher at 32.2p.
Elsewhere, spirits giant Diageo made gains after the US agreed to suspend tariffs on UK exports, with shares rising 56.5p to 2,933.5p.
The price of oil soared higher after Opec and its allies decided not to cut output next month.
The price of Brent crude oil increased by 4.6% to $67.02 dollars per barrel.
The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were Melrose, up 6.55p at 183.5p, Sage Group, up 17.6p at 597p, Reckitt Benckiser, up 182p at 6,282p, and BP, up 8.2p at 313.1p.
The biggest fallers of the day were Rio Tinto, down 557p at 5,878p, and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 74p at 1,088p.