- FTSE closes down 11.26 points at 6,844.55
- AstraZeneca leads fallers after bid rejection
- Chinese data disappoints
techMARK 2,719.46 -0.94%
FTSE 100 6,844.55 -0.16%
FTSE 250 15,379.44 -0.12%
London's blue chips ended the session broadly lower, weighed by AstraZeneca and generally weaker sentiment following the real estate data released from China, although this improved somewhat as the day went on.
The FTSE 100 closed down 11.26 points at 6,844.55.
Chris Beauchamp, Market Analyst at IG. said: "Markets are pushing off their lows in Europe and the US this afternoon, but the FTSE 100 has been unable to clamber out of negative territory while AstraZeneca is down [more than] 10%. At around 3% of the index Astra is too important to ignore, but most traders are looking beyond this one stock and are generally turning more bullish as the day goes on."
For his part, Jasper Lawler, a Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK, said investors had today had to "readjust expectations for an M&A boom and a Eurozone recovery" following Pfizer's latest failed bid for AstraZeneca.
He also referenced comments from Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, who said there was not sufficient supply in the housing market.
For Lawler, the lack of supply is the reason for the gradual increase in the price of houses in the UK above inflation for the last few decades, but "does not explain the 8.9% annual increase in prices reported in the last year by Rightmove", saying instead it was due to the record low interest rates.
"It would almost be impossible to build enough houses to offset the current rise in house prices, the rapid move higher in prices will only stop once the central bank raises its benchmark interest rate."
Chinese data provides drag across the globe
China's real estate sector weakened further, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed overnight, weighing on investor sentiment.
New-home prices fell in eight of the country's cities, compared to the four which saw a fall in March as developers increasingly struggle with slowing economic growth and sluggish demand.
Craig Erlam from Alpari said the figures added to concerns that the country cannot achieve its ambitious 7.5% growth target.
"This time is was the housing market that caused concerns with prices of second homes in Beijing falling 0.2% while prices of non-governmental residential housing rose at a slower pace for the sixth consecutive month," he explained.
"At some point the government or the central bank is going to have to provide some form of stimulus, otherwise I don't see how the country will come close to achieving its growth target."
Putin orders withdrawal of military units from Ukrainian border
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered units that participated in recent military exercises on the Western border of Russia to return to their barracks, while at the same time calling for an end to Ukraine's military operations against pro-Moscow militants in its eastern regions.
According to the Kremlin Press office, Putin also welcomed the first contacts between officials from the Ukrainian government and those who support federalisation, Interfax reported.
AstraZeneca leads the way lower
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca slumped after it rejected a 'final proposal' from US rival Pfizer.
The offer, which valued the London-listed group at £69bn, would not be increased any further, Pfizer said, adding that it would not pursue a hostile offer and would only announce another offer with the recommendation of AstraZeneca's board.
Meanwhile, easyJet and IAG were flying higher on positive read across from figures out from airline peer Ryanair. The Dublin-based group posted a less-than-expected 8% drop in annual profits and forecast a strong first half of the new financial year.
FTSE 100 - Risers
easyJet (EZJ) 1,587.00p +4.68%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 370.80p +3.49%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,023.00p +2.81%
Shire Plc (SHP) 3,353.00p +2.66%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,743.00p +2.59%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 817.00p +2.32%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 3,071.00p +2.23%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,280.00p +2.05%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 907.50p +2.02%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,316.00p +1.94%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,287.50p -11.11%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,346.00p -2.53%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,144.00p -2.47%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,225.00p -1.87%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,620.00p -1.43%
Diageo (DGE) 1,919.00p -1.18%
Barclays (BARC) 238.95p -1.08%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 451.00p -0.99%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 918.50p -0.97%
Royal Mail (RMG) 565.50p -0.96%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cairn Energy (CNE) 188.00p +3.81%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,015.00p +3.78%
Keller Group (KLR) 965.00p +2.88%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 800.00p +2.83%
Alent (ALNT) 310.00p +2.55%
Perform Group (PER) 261.10p +2.39%
Mitie Group (MTO) 318.30p +2.35%
BTG (BTG) 525.00p +2.34%
Afren (AFR) 154.10p +1.99%
BBA Aviation (BBA) 303.80p +1.95%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Supergroup (SGP) 964.00p -5.86%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 404.30p -4.71%
Countrywide (CWD) 529.00p -4.25%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 286.90p -3.95%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,095.00p -3.61%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,700.00p -3.57%
RPS Group (RPS) 266.20p -3.13%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 785.00p -3.09%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 145.80p -3.06%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 1,086.00p -3.04%