FTSE 100 starts December on the front foot after positive China data / Image Source: Adobe

Stocks in London opened higher on a Friday full of economic indicator releases, and after China’s factory sector returned to growth in November.

The FTSE 100 index opened up 47.91 points, 0.6%, at 7,501.66. The FTSE 250 was up 34.99 points, 0.2%, at 18,268.46, and the AIM All-Share was up 0.51 of a point, 0.1%, at 714.29.

The Cboe UK 100 was up 0.7% at 748.20, the Cboe UK 250 was virtually flat at 15,767.16, and the Cboe Small Companies was up 0.1% at 13,345.06.

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.

‘There has been a significant change in market expectations for the future path of Bank Rate in recent months which, if sustained, could provide much needed support for housing market activity,’ said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist.

London-listed housebuilders were marginally higher following the data. Berkeley Group was up 1.1%, Persimmon rose by 0.4% and Taylor Wimpey was up 0.7%.

So far on Friday morning, there have been manufacturing purchasing managers’ index readings from China, Ireland and Japan. The results were a mixed bag, with manufacturing conditions deteriorating in Japan, halting in Ireland, and improving in 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.

‘Demand continued to grow, as the gauge for new orders remained in expansionary territory for the fourth consecutive month, hitting the highest since June,’ said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group. ‘Compared with consumer goods and intermediate goods, the supply and demand of investment goods were weaker.

The positive data boosted mining stocks in London. Anglo American jumped 4.3%, Rio Tinto rose 2.4%, and Antofagasta was up 2.0%, and Glencore rose 1.8%.

Brent oil was quoted at $80.61 a barrel early in London on Friday, down from $80.56 late Thursday.

The economic calendar still has a slew of manufacturing PMI releases, including for the EU, the UK and the US.

Elsewhere on the FTSE 100, AstraZeneca was up 1.7%.

AstraZeneca has decided to discontinue the Stabilize-ckd and Dialize-Outcomes Phase III evidence trials for Lokelma, sodium zirconium cyclosilicate.

The decision was made due to substantially increased enrolment timelines and low event rates, respectively, which made it prohibitive to deliver study results within a timeframe to meaningfully advance clinical practice.

They are part of the Crystalize evidence programme, which researches the benefit of Lokelma in the management of hyperkalaemia across the cardiorenal spectrum.

In the FTSE 250 index, Ceres Power plummeted 20%.

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‘.

Chief Executive Phil Caldwell commented: ’Despite good progress commercially and growing interest in our SOEC technology, we have not been able to conclude a new license partnership in this financial year. We remain confident of securing a new commercial partnership in the coming months and we will provide a year-end trading update in January.‘

On AIM, t42 IoT Tracking Solutions surged 60%.

It announces a collaboration with Sateliot IOT Sefvices. Based in Barcelona, Sateliot IOT Sefvices operates a low-earth orbit 5G internet of things satellite constellation.

CEO Avi Hartmann said: ’It is unbelievable what a small hardware investment can represent for the industry’s performance overall. This change has come to stay; there’s no doubt about it and t42 has positioned itself to be a leader in this change over the next few years.‘

The pound was quoted at $1.2632 early on Friday in London, lower compared to $1.2652 at the equities close on Thursday. The euro stood at $1.898, lower against $1.0909. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JP¥148.29, higher compared to JP¥147.85.

In Asia on Friday, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was down 0.2%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.1%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 1.3%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed down 0.2%.

In the US on Thursday, Wall Street ended mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1.5%, the S&P 500 up 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.2%.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX 40 in Frankfurt were both up 0.5%.

Gold was quoted at $2,039.66 an ounce, higher against $2,038.85.

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Issue Date: 01 Dec 2023