- FTSE 100 pulls back after recent strong run
- Manufacturing growth eases in China, UK and US
- Debenhams CFO departs after profit warning
techMARK 2,772.41 -0.32%
FTSE 100 6,717.91 -0.46%
FTSE 250 15,919.09 -0.10%
UK markets finished the first session of the new year in the red after a host of mixed data from across the globe, with the FTSE 100 pulling back after an impressive finish to 2013.
Economic figures released today showed that manufacturing activity growth in China, the UK and US eased during December, but picked up slightly in the Eurozone.
London's benchmark index, which rose 14.4% during 2013 to finish with its best annual gain since 2009, had risen by nearly 5% in the final two and a half weeks alone. Following a bank holiday yesterday, the Footsie finished Thursday's session down 31.18 points at 6,717.91.
"Equities have started 2014 on the wrong foot after an excellent performance in 2013. The City of London is not at full capacity just yet, and the holiday feeling is still lingering with trading volumes and volatility low. The City should be firing on all cylinders next week," said Market Analyst David Madden from IG.
Global manufacturing PMIs come in mixed
China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI), released on Wednesday, fell from 51.4 to 51 in December, missing the 51.2 expected by analysts. Meanwhile, Thursday's HSBC/Markit survey showed that the manufacturing PMI declined from 50.8 to 50.5, broadly in line with forecasts.
While both figures came in above 50, indicating growth, they showed that the rate of manufacturing expansion had decelerated during the month.
Closer to home, the UK manufacturing PMI fell from a revised 58.1 to 57.3 in December, missing the prediction of a small up-tick to 58.2.
The final reading of the Eurozone manufacturing PMI was confirmed at 52.7, up from November's 51.6. While activity picked up in Spain, Italy and Germany during the month, conditions in France continued to deteriorate.
Meanwhile, the ISM manufacturing index in the US edged lower from 57.3 to 57 last month but still came in ahead of the 56.8 consensus forecast.
Retailers bounce back after slump
The general retail sector was making small gains today, recovering after a Debenhams-inspired sell-off the previous session following its profit warning. Following a 12% tumble on New Year's Eve, Debenhams rose 3% today after the company confirmed media speculation that its Chief Financial Officer Simon Herrick would be stepping down next month.
Sentiment in the industry has also recovered slightly after fellow department stores John Lewis and House of Fraser reported strong sales in the lead-up to Christmas. Analysts at Numis Securities said in a research report that this showed that Debenhams' problems were more "company-specific" rather than indicative of trends across the wider industry.
Other retailers such as ASOS, Mothercare, Dunelm, WH Smith, Kingfisher and Sports Direct were all making gains on Thursday, along with Next ahead of its trading update due out tomorrow.
Randgold Resources made strong gains this afternoon, helped by a jump in the price of gold of as much as 2%. Rob Cohen, the Lead Portfolio Manager with Dynamic Funds, was also quoted as saying the company was a "good position to do acquisitions" and has a "really good balance sheet". Precious metals peer Fresnillo was also higher as the price of silver surged by around 3.5%.
Oil group Ophir Energy fell sharply after it failed to discover oil or gas in the first of its much-anticipated "high impact" wells drilled offshore Tanzania in 2014.
Sector peer Royal Dutch Shell also finished lower despite the news that it has completed the purchase of $4.1bn of liquefied natural gas assets from Spanish rival Repsol at a better price than previously announced.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,934.00p +3.80%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,405.00p +3.77%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 783.50p +3.09%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,488.00p +1.76%
Royal Mail (RMG) 579.00p +1.58%
Next (NXT) 5,530.00p +1.47%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,256.00p +1.37%
Fresnillo (FRES) 755.00p +1.27%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 406.10p +1.17%
Meggitt (MGGT) 533.50p +1.14%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sage Group (SGE) 394.10p -2.38%
Rexam (REX) 518.00p -2.36%
Hammerson (HMSO) 490.40p -2.31%
SSE (SSE) 1,339.00p -2.26%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,292.00p -2.12%
TUI Travel (TT.) 404.80p -2.01%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 490.00p -2.00%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,436.00p -1.85%
British Land Co (BLND) 617.50p -1.83%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,044.50p -1.82%
FTSE 250 - Risers
International Personal Finance (IPF) 537.50p +7.93%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 190.50p +7.08%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,277.00p +6.33%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 197.50p +6.30%
Rank Group (RNK) 142.30p +5.41%
Synthomer (SYNT) 264.10p +3.77%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,465.00p +3.53%
Diploma (DPLM) 698.00p +3.41%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 585.00p +3.36%
Renishaw (RSW) 2,009.00p +3.29%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 300.90p -8.21%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 99.65p -4.00%
Pace (PIC) 306.30p -3.74%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 321.70p -3.25%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 149.50p -2.92%
ICAP (IAP) 438.60p -2.88%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,224.00p -2.88%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 335.20p -2.78%
Homeserve (HSV) 267.70p -2.76%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 610.50p -2.63%