UK Markets closed

FTSE slides as mixed Chinese economic data weighs on sentiment

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter
·3-min read

The FTSE 100 closed in the red as global sentiment was cautious on the back of mixed economic data from China and an uninspiring update from the European Central Bank.

The value of the pound recovered to push higher after it slumped in the morning session following disappointing UK jobs data.

London’s top flight closed 41.96 points lower at 6,250.69p at the end of trading on Thursday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Stocks handed back some of yesterday’s gains amid a sluggish trading session.

“The mixed data from China overnight ensured that equities got off to a negative start.”

China revealed that the economy grew by 11.5% in the last quarter, but this rebound came after a 9.8% contraction in the first quarter after it was badly hit the pandemic.

Mr Madden also said that the latest update from the ECB “didn’t inspire traders”, as its chief, Christine Lagarde, said the rate of bond buying has eased a little.

Sterling slumped at the start of trading after the Office for National Statistics said workers on company payrolls have fallen 649,000 during lockdown as the coronavirus crisis claimed another 74,000 jobs last month.

However, it recovered against the weak dollar after the US markets opened.

The pound rose 0.26% versus the US dollar at 1.262 and was up 0.08% against the euro at 1.103.

The major European markets also nudged lower as sentiment cooled as the ECB kept rates on hold, meeting forecasts.

The German Dax decreased by 0.43%, while the French Cac moved 0.46% lower.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones opened lower as big technology firms underperformed once again with the sector losing its lustre after a strong few months.

UK multinationals with high exposure to the US performed poorly on Thursday, with the likes of British American Tobacco and BAE Systems slumping lower.

In company news, Ladbrokes and Coral owner GVC slid after long-standing chief executive Kenny Alexander said he will leave the company at the end of this week.

Mr Alexander will be succeeded by current operating chief Shay Segev, bringing to an end his 13-year tenure leading the company.

Shares closed 33.6p lower at 879.8p.

RBS shares nudged upwards after it confirmed it will formally change its name to NatWest Group on July 22 as it looks to shift away from the brand that was bailed out in the financial crisis.

It closed 0.45p higher at 121.95p.

Online estate agent Purplebricks saw shares jump higher after it announced the sale of its Canadian business for around £35 million.

The company’s shares closed 2.8p higher at 57.8p after it said it sold its DuProprio and Purplebricks Canada operations to Desjardins Group, a Canadian cooperative financial group.

The price of oil was marginally lower as OPEC members agreed to ease off from deep production cuts from next month.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil decreased by 0.23 to 43.5 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were SSE, up 33.5p at 1,397p, WPP, up 13.8p at 624.2p, Intermediate Capital Group, up 29p at 1,365p, and Avast, up 8.5p at 575p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Melrose, down 4.75p at 117.75p, GVC, down 33.6p at 879.8p, Smith & Nephew, down 58p at 1,602p, and Compass, down 34p at 1,150.5p.