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FTSE starts week on the front foot as eyes turn to central bank meetings

The top shares in London managed to start the week with a small gain, as traders continue to eye the near record highs that the FTSE 100 reached earlier this month.

Led by retailers and consumer goods companies, the top index pushed 19.72 points higher, or 0.3%, ending the day at 7,784.87.

Market watchers across Europe and the US will this week have their eyes on a series of important interest rate decisions.

The Bank of England, European Central Bank and US Fed are all going to meet to decide on interest rates later this week.

“The FTSE 100 has pushed back into positive territory after a drop on the open, while in the US stocks have endured a shaky start,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“A glance at the calendar for the week would be enough to deter all but the most swashbuckling of investors from taking new positions, so it is hardly surprising to see some of the recent bullishness fade away.

“Investors will have a better idea (we hope) about the outlook once the central bank decisions, job numbers and earnings reports are in the bag.”

Wall Street had a sour performance on Monday.

The S&P 500 had lost 0.8% of its value and the Dow Jones was down 0.3% a short time after European markets closed.

The Dax and Cac 40, in Germany and France respectively, both closed down 0.2%.

On currency markets the pound was still trading at a little under 1.24 dollars after registering a 0.2% fall against the US currency.

One pound could buy just under 1.14 euros, also down 0.2%.

One of the big shocks in London on Monday was 888. The betting company saw its shares plummet by 28%.

In a double hit the business said that its chief executive has quit and that it has launched an internal investigation into some of its practices.

Exact details were sparse, but the business said it may not have followed anti-money laundering and know your client best practices in the Middle East when dealing with some VIP customers.

It suspended VIP accounts in the region with immediate effect.

The move itself only impacts 3% of the company’s revenue, but the potential problems spooked markets.

Investors were less concerned by a breach at JD Sports which could have given hackers access to the personal details, though not debit card numbers, of 10 million customers.

Shares closed down 0.5%.

Shareholders in Shell shrugged at a shake-up at the company’s top.

Ahead of the oil major’s financial results due this week, new boss Wael Sawan announced a series of changes, including the combination of its oil and gas and liquid natural gas divisions.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Sainsbury’s, up 10.3p to 262.8p, Auto Trader, up 16.8p to 621.2p, Kingfisher, up 7.1p to 279.1p, Reckitt, up 142p to 5,726p, and B&M, up 9.1p to 451.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Standard Chartered, down 24.6p to 688p, Fresnillo, down 22.8p to 836.4p, Prudential, down 29p to 1,342.5p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 15p to 752.4p, and Legal & General, down 5p to 256p.