- FTSE closes down 2.12 points at 6,796.44
- Kantar data pushes supermarkets lower
- Ukraine situation eases slightly
techMARK 2,790.92 -0.04%
FTSE 100 6,796.44 -0.03%
FTSE 250 15,881.95 -0.36%
UK markets ended today's session broadly flat as investors digested a raft of corporate updates, poor retail data, a slight easing of the situation in Eastern Europe, along with a number of stocks going ex-dividend.
The FTSE 100 closed down 2.12 points at 6,796.44.
Supermarket industry data from Kantar Worldpanel today showed growth is at the "lowest level for at least 11 years".
Figures for the 12 weeks ending April 27th revealed the British grocery market grew just 1.9%, which Kantar said was caused by intensifying price competition among the supermarkets and a resulting drop in price inflation.
Among the 'big four', Asda has proved the most resilient in holding onto market share, retaining its 17.3% market share and narrowly beating the market with 2.0% year-on-year growth.
The data showed Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrison all suffered declines in their market share, with Tesco and Morrison recording a fall in actual sales.
In more positive news, the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) revealed that new car registration growth came in at 8.2% for April, a slight deceleration but still marking the 26th month of growth.
Howard Archer, Chief UK & European Economist at IHS Global Insight, said the statistics offered up "another very impressive month", noting that sales held up "very well" in April after surging in the key month of March.
Putin meets with Chairman of OSCE
Looking further afield, in Eastern Europe Vladimir Putin has said he sees no need to send forces into Ukraine yet.
The Russian President wants the "swiftest possible resolution" to the crisis and called on activists in Eastern Ukraine to postpone a referendum planned for this weekend.
That followed talks with the head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, following which he reportedly asked representatives of Ukraine´s southeastern regions to reschedule a referendum which was meant to take place on May 11th.
Capital Economics believes sterling has further to rise
In an interesting and noteworthy comment from Capital Economics today, especially ahead of tomorrow´s MPC meeting, the research group said: "Although sterling is now around its strongest level against the euro since last January, based on the relative outlook for monetary policy [...] we think it has further to rise."
The pound was steady throughout much of today's session at close to the $1.70 mark.
Experian leads downside, ex-divi stocks weigh
Experian disappointed with its outlook statement as it said it faces "a number of one-off headwinds" that will constrain growth in the first half.
After going ex-dividend, Morrison led the supermarket sector lower, dragged further into the red by the report from Kantar.
The data also saw J Sainsbury erase early gains despite delivering annual results ahead of expectations this morning, with underlying pre-tax profit rising 5.3% to £798m.
Construction materials group CRH also underwhelmed after saying that the improving trends in its European markets during the second half of last year continued in 2014.
Security group G4S was higher after saying trading for the year-to-date has been in line with its expectations, with 4.8% revenue growth in the first three months of the year.
Financial services group Legal & General was among the best performers as it posted record first-quarter results, with cash flowing strongly and assets under management at an all-time high.
easyJet took off after buoyant passenger data and plans to use unmanned drones to inspect its aircraft.
FTSE 100 - Risers
G4S (GFS) 250.20p +4.12%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 220.00p +3.04%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,710.00p +2.58%
BAE Systems (BA.) 404.50p +1.79%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,200.00p +1.78%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,221.00p +1.65%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,567.50p +1.62%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 816.50p +1.55%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,467.00p +1.52%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,415.50p +1.46%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Experian (EXPN) 1,060.00p -6.53%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 190.80p -5.54%
CRH (CRH) 1,679.00p -3.51%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 394.20p -3.48%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,008.00p -2.98%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 323.90p -2.85%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 76.72p -2.27%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 859.50p -2.16%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,421.00p -1.86%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,638.00p -1.86%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 830.00p +4.47%
Xaar (XAR) 787.00p +4.45%
Perform Group (PER) 234.00p +4.28%
Afren (AFR) 165.10p +3.84%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 464.80p +3.50%
Booker Group (BOK) 147.80p +3.07%
Evraz (EVR) 104.20p +2.96%
Pace (PIC) 361.30p +2.38%
Keller Group (KLR) 1,012.00p +2.27%
Savills (SVS) 625.00p +2.21%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 311.30p -5.44%
ICAP (IAP) 394.40p -5.37%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,348.00p -4.46%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 128.50p -4.25%
Countrywide (CWD) 570.00p -4.20%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 322.80p -3.79%
Rank Group (RNK) 156.70p -3.63%
CSR (CSR) 544.00p -3.37%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 610.00p -3.17%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 61.25p -3.16%