FTSE 100 edges down on tepid day for European markets

21 May 2024, 16:54

London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange trading. Picture: PA

Global markets continued with their cautious tone this week, with BT, Vodafone and easyJet among the biggest fallers on the UK index.

The FTSE 100 nudged downwards on Tuesday as a broader sell-off reached European stocks after falls in Asia.

Global markets continued with their cautious tone this week, with BT, Vodafone and easyJet among the biggest fallers on the UK index.

The FTSE 100 finished 8 points, or 0.09%, lower at the close at 8,416 points.

It came after Federal Reserve officials said they were not ready to say inflation was heading towards the US central bank’s 2% target on Monday.

“It is too early to tell whether the recent slowdown in the disinflationary process will be long lasting,” Fed vice chairman Philip Jefferson told the Mortgage Bankers Association conference in New York.

Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG, said: “Following a weak session in Asia, European stock indices mainly drifted lower as well, as several Fed speakers voiced their dissatisfaction with sticky US inflation, despite the better-than-expected April print.

“German producer prices slipping more than expected, a speech by the European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde and a larger-than-expected eurozone trade surplus didn’t manage to prop up European stocks while the FTSE 100 flat-lined.”

In Europe, the German Dax index was down 0.2% at the close and the Cac 40 in France ended 0.7% down.

The main US markets nudged up, with the Dow Jones gaining 0.2% in early trading and the S&P 500 rising 0.1%.

Sterling was stable ahead of key inflation data from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday morning.

The pound was up 0.09% at 1.2722 US dollars and up 0.1% at 1.1716 euros on Tuesday afternoon.

In company news, AstraZeneca shares rose after it announced it planned to double profits to 80 billion dollars (£62.8 billion) by 2030.

The FTSE’s most valuable company will launch 20 new medicines over coming years in areas like cancer care and rare diseases as part of a “new era of growth”.

Chief executive Pascal Soriot said many of the new products have potential to generate more than five billion dollars a year and “transform millions of lives”.

Shares were up 2% at the close.

Utilities company Pennon’s shares fell after it said it was “100% focused” on returning a safe water supply to those affected by a parasite outbreak in Devon.

Shares fell 5% despite it revealing higher annual earnings and an increased dividend for investors.

Pennon said it is paying out around £3.5 million in compensation to customers after more than 16,000 households and businesses in the Brixham area were told to boil their drinking water since May 15 after cryptosporidium was found in the water supply.

Cryptosporidium is a waterborne disease which can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil was up by 0.3% to 81.29 US dollars as markets were closing in London

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were AstraZeneca, up 322p to 12417p, Schroders, up 8.8p to 379.3p, BAE Systems, up 15.5p to 1387.25p, Centrica, up 1.5p to 147.7p, and Antofagasta, up 23p to 2418p.

The biggest fallers were BT, down 13.4p to 771.1p, easyJet, down 10p to 629.5p, Vodafone, down 16.5p to 1050.5p, RS Group, down 12.4p to 792.9p, and DS Smith, down 5.8p to 370p.

By Press Association