London stocks rise ahead of services activity data

Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London August 23, 2018. — Reuters pic
Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London August 23, 2018. — Reuters pic

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LONDON, Sept 3 — London’s FTSE 100 edged higher today, helped by consumer discretionary and mining shares, while investors awaited a reading on August services activity data due later in the day.

The blue-chip index rose 0.2. Global miner BHP Group added 1.4 per cent, rebounding from a 5.6 per cent fall in the previous session.

The wider mining index gained 0.6 per cent, tracking metal prices higher.

Spirits maker Diageo, Dove soap maker Unilever, and tobacco company Imperial Brands all gained between 0.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent, providing the biggest boost to the index.

The domestic focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index edged 0.1 per cent higher, lifted by 10.1 per cent jump in Discoverie Group’s shares after the electronic components manufacturer and supplier upsized its equity raise offering.

Asian shares held ground as investors refrained from making big bets ahead of US employment data that could throw clues on US Federal Reserve’s timeline and pace of asset tapering.

“The NFP (non-farm payroll) is always good for some juicy volatility intra-session, but this one will assume potentially greater importance than usual as the headline result will go a long way towards solidifying financial markets’ timing of the Fed taper,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“A number around expectations will be a bit of a meh for me, giving us no clarity one way or the other. The result will still be ‘buy everything,’ just less vigorously.”

Domestically, the IHS Markit/CIPS services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is expected to fall to 55.5 last month from 59.6 in July amid supply-chain bottlenecks that also stunted British manufacturers’ recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in August.

Among other stocks, Ashmore Group fell 4.5 per cent after the emerging markets-focused money manager reported a 12 per cent dip in annual net revenue.

Sanne Group slipped 1.9 per cent after London-based private equity firm Cinven said it would not make another buyout offer for the asset management services provider.

Barratt Developments rose 1.6 per cent to the top of FTSE 100 index after brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, while ASOS fell 2.3 per cent after JP Morgan’s price target cut. — Reuters

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