Great Wall of China
FTSE 100 index was up 39.85 points or 0.5% / Image source: Adobe

Stock prices in London were higher at midday on data-heavy Friday, buoyed by positive manufacturing data from China.

The FTSE 100 index was up 39.85 points, 0.5%, at 7,493.60. The FTSE 250 was up 28.09 points, 0.2%, at 18,261.56, and the AIM All-Share was up 1.48 points, 0.2%, at 715.26.

The Cboe UK 100 was up 0.8% at 748.55 and the Cboe UK 250 was up slightly at 15,772.40. However, the Cboe Small Companies was down 0.3% at 13,289.09.

At the top of the FTSE 100 index were London’s miners. Anglo American jumped 7.2%, Antofagasta rose 4.7%, Rio Tinto climbed 3.9% and Glencore was up 3.5%.

UBS raised both Anglo American and Antofagasta to ’buy’ from ’neutral’.

The stock also got a boost from some good news from China.

In China, the Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to a three-month high of 50.7 points last month from 49.5 in October. The reading above 50 points indicates growth in the sector.

There was also some good news for the UK’s manufacturing sector.

The latest S&P Global/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply manufacturing PMI rose to 47.2 points in November from 44.8 in October.

This marks the third successive month the PMI score has risen, reaching its highest point since April. However, it remained below the 50-point no-change mark.

A similar picture was painted for the eurozone’s manufacturing sector. The Hamburg Commercial Bank manufacturing PMI edged higher to 44.2 points in November from 43.1 points in October.

‘While it remains in contractionary territory, suggesting a broad-based weakness across eurozone countries, the pace of declines in output and new orders has slowed while expectations improved,’ said Oxford Economics Alexander Valentin.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, housebuilders also made some gains on Friday, on what AJ Bell’s Russ Mould called ‘tentative signs of a stronger housing market.’ Berkeley Group was up 1.4%, Persimmon up 0.8% and Taylor Wimpey up 0.4%.

In early economic news, data from Nationwide showed that the annual pace of decline in UK house prices eased somewhat in November, as house prices rose on a monthly basis.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, UK house prices rose by 0.2% in November from October, with growth slowing slightly from a 0.9% on-month rise in October.

On an annual basis, prices were 2.0% lower in November, slowing from the 3.3% fall in October.

‘Hopes that interest rates have peaked might have led more people to see if they can sell their home, while an easing in mortgage rates will have made home loans more affordable to people looking to buy,’ Mould said.

‘Shares in housebuilders are heavily influenced by sentiment towards the property market and so even the slightest glimmer of hope can lift the sector.’

In the FTSE 250, Ceres Power fell 19%.

After market close on Thursday, the clean energy technology developer issued a trading update.

It said it expects 2023 revenue to be around £20 million to £21 million, down from £22 million in 2022. Ceres noted that this is because it it is unlikely it will sign an agreement with ‘the most imminent of the new licensees’ in time for the associated revenue to be recognised in 2023, despite an agreement ‘progressing well’.

Trainline lost 4.4%, after Panmure cut the stocks to ’hold’.

On AIM, Sondrel plummeted 43%.

Siemens Industry Software Ltd, part of Siemens AG, sold its entire 11.2% stake in Sondrel in a share placing run by Peel Hunt LLP.

Siemens sold 9.8 million shares at 6 pence each, worth £588,807, Peel Hunt said on Friday. Sondrel won’t receive any funds, as the sale is of existing shares.

Meanwhile, t42 IoT Tracking Solutions rose 17%, after it said it will collaborate with Sateliot IOT Services on satellite-based maritime tracking.

t42 is a Jersey-based firm which provides tracking, security, and monitoring solutions for the global supply chain, logistics, container, and freight market. Based in Barcelona, Sateliot IOT Services operates a low-earth orbit 5G internet of things satellite constellation.

t42 said it will incorporate 5G-IoT communication modules into its existing and future devices deployed in containers for its more than 50 logistics partners around the world. This will connect them to Sateliot’s satellites to eliminate ‘the problem of lack of coverage on the high seas,’ it explained.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.4%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was up 0.7%.

Stocks in New York were called to open mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was called up 0.1% and the S&P 500 index up slightly. However, the Nasdaq Composite is called down 0.1%.

The pound was quoted at $1.2654 at midday on Friday in London, up slightly compared to $1.2652 at the equities close on Thursday. The euro stood at $1.0893, lower against $1.0909. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JP¥148.03, up compared to JP¥147.85.

Brent oil was quoted at $80.93 a barrel at midday in London on Friday, up slightly from $80.56 late Thursday. Gold was quoted at $2,041.88 an ounce, higher against $2,038.85.

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Issue Date: 01 Dec 2023