London skyline
Hot US producer prices send stocks lower / Image source: Adobe

London stock prices were down at the closing bell on Thursday, as producer price inflation data from across the pond came in ahead of previous expectations.

Looking at individual stocks, Trainline jumped after it predicted a revenue growth beat. On the other end of the FTSE 250 index, though, OSB plummeted on its weak outlook.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 29.02 points, 0.4%, at 7,743.15. The FTSE 250 ended down 77.91 points, 0.4%, at 19,486.01, and the AIM All-Share closed down 0.72 of a point, 0.1%, at 738.10.

The Cboe UK 100 ended down 0.4% at 775.32, the Cboe UK 250 closed down 0.2% at 16,903.15, and the Cboe Small Companies ended down 0.4% at 14,659.91.

In European equities on Thursday, the CAC 40 in Paris ended up 0.3%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt ended down 0.1%.

The US producer price index for final demand was up 0.6% on-month in February, accelerating from 0.3% in January. This surpassed market expectations of a 0.3% rise in February.

Annually, US producer prices rose by 1.6%, ahead of consensus of 1.1%. In January, prices had risen by 1.0% on-year.

Separately, data from the US Census Bureau showed that retail sales rose by 0.6% in February from January, underperforming expectations of a 0.8% rise.

‘The 0.6% m/m rebound in retail sales in February appears to reflect the unwinding of the drag on sales from the winter storms in early January, but the details suggest that the strength of consumers over the second half of last year is fading,’ said analysts at Capital Economics.

The US Department of Labor also released its initial weekly jobs report. In the week ending March 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 209,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised total. The previous week’s level was revised down by 7,000 from 217,000.

This was lower than market consensus for initial jobless claims to rise to 218,000.

The data comes ahead of the Federal Reserve decision next Wednesday.

The Bank of England will make its own interest rate decision on Thursday.

Stocks in New York were lower at the London equities close, with the DJIA down 0.3%, the S&P 500 index down 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.5%.

The pound was quoted at $1.2737 at the London equities close Thursday, down compared to $1.2798 at the close on Wednesday. The euro stood at $1.0887 at the European equities close Thursday, lower against $1.0945 at the same time on Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JP¥148.25, higher compared to JP¥147.70 late Wednesday.

In the FTSE 100, miner Anglo American fell 5.3%, lender NatWest declined 5.1% and property investor Segro lost 3.6%. The trio went ex-dividend, meaning new buyers do not qualify for their latest payouts.

In the FTSE 250, Trainline jumped 14%.

Revenue in the financial year that ended February 29 rose 21% to £397 million from £327 million. Trainline previously had guided for a rise between 15% and 20%.

Net ticket sales were 22% higher at £5.30 billion, at the top end of its growth outlook range. Net tickets sales were £4.32 billion in financial 2023.

Chief Executive Jody Ford said: ‘Trainline is a home-grown British tech success that has scaled beyond domestic borders to become Europe’s most downloaded rail app. We outperformed expectations this year, growing strongly in the UK and across the continent, with International Consumer net ticket sales of more than £1 billion.’

Helios Towers rose 7.3%.

For the year ended December 31, the London-based telecommunications infrastructure company reported a pretax loss of $112.2 million, narrowed from $162.5 million a year prior.

Revenue rose 29% to $721.0 million from $560.7 million. According to Helios, this boost was driven by ‘record’ organic tenancy growth, complemented by acquisitions in Malawi and Oman.

On the other hand, OSB plummeted 16%.

The Chatham, England-based mortgage lender, formerly known as OneSavings Bank, said pretax profit fell 30% to £374.3 million in 2023 from £531.5 million in 2022, as net interest income declined by 7.2% to £658.6 million down from £709.9 million.

Chief Executive Andy Golding explained that, as previously disclosed, the results were significantly hurt by the adverse effective interest rate adjustment, relating primarily to a shorter time spent on the reversion rate by its Precise Mortgages customers.

Amongst London’s small-caps, International Personal Finance jumped 11%.

The company, which offers unsecured consumer credit in nine countries, said 2023 pretax profit landed ahead of its ‘internal plans’, rising 8.4% to £83.9 million from £77.4 million. Revenue rose 19% to £767.8 million from £645.5 million.

IPF lifted its final dividend by 11% to 7.2p per share from 6.5p. Its annual dividend was 12% higher at 10.3p from 9.2p.

Brent oil was quoted at $84.91 a barrel at the London equities close Thursday, up from $83.50 late Wednesday.

Gold was quoted at $2,154.76 an ounce at the London equities close Thursday, lower against $2,173.55 at the close on Wednesday.

In Friday’s UK corporate calendar, there is a trading statement scheduled from Berkeley Group. There are also half year results from Volution Group.

The economic calendar for Friday has Germany wholesale prices at 0700 GMT. At 1230 GMT there are US import and export price readings.

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Issue Date: 14 Mar 2024