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London stocks underperform European peers despite inflation dip

The FTSE 100 slipped back again on Wednesday as UK inflation remained high despite pulling away from peak levels.

UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation showed a bigger-than-expected monthly increase despite the annual figure dipping to 10.5% in November.

The overall fall was largely in line with expectations and did little to improve sentiment as food inflation struck a new 45-year high.

It resulted in another session where London fared worse than its peers across the Channel who remained steady during a broadly calm trading session.

The FTSE 100 finished the day down 20.33 points, or 0.26%, at 7,830.7.

The Dax dipped 0.03% by the end of the session and the French Cac finished 0.09% higher.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It’s been another broadly positive session for markets in Europe, after US inflation and retail sales pointed to a slowing economy, and the prospect of a slower path in rate hikes.

“The FTSE100 has once again underperformed after the latest UK inflation numbers served to put upward pressure on the pound, after month-on-month inflation came in above expectations at 0.4%, and annual core inflation remained steady at 6.3%.”

In the US, the markets initially opened higher after producer price inflation came in below expectations but drifted after a fall in bond yields.

Meanwhile, sterling made progress against a dollar which was weakened by the latest US PPI figures, which also pointed to a slowdown in consumer spending.

The pound was up 0.49% against the dollar at 1.234 and was 0.5% higher against the euro at 1.143 at the close.

In company news, Currys shares improved strongly after the retailer said a better-than-expected performance in the UK and Ireland managed to offset its struggles in Scandinavia.

The company told shareholders on Wednesday, that trade in the British Isles had improved during the 10 weeks to January 7 – its so-called “peak” period – when compared with the rest of the financial year to date.

Shares in the company closed 6.8p higher at 66.75p.

Just Eat also finished higher after the takeaway delivery specialist returned to an underlying profit earlier than expected thanks to cost-cutting and said it expects to remain profitable in 2023.

The Amsterdam-based group nevertheless said order numbers dropped by 12% to 239.8 million across the group and were down by 10% in the UK and Ireland, at 65.4 million.

Currys stock
Currys shares improved strongly after the retailer said a better-than-expected performance in the UK and Ireland managed to offset its struggles in Scandinavia (Currys/PA)

Shares in the business finished up 86.5p at 2,215.5p on Wednesday.

The price of oil edged towards its highest levels since the start of December as markets continue to price in a rebound.

Brent crude oil increased by 0.84% to 86.64 US dollars (£70.11) per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Glencore, up 23.7p to 576.6p, Ocado Group, up 28.8p to 761.8p, Antofagasta, up 58p to 1,799.5p, Burberry Group, up 74p to 2,317p, and Experian, up 88p to 3,049p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were BT Group, down 4.2p to 128p, Haleon, down 9.25p to 317.95p, Diageo, down 99p to 3,667.5p, Reckitt Benckiser Group, down 148p to 5,834p, and Coca-Cola HBC, down 44.5p to 1,919p.