London stock market wins China boost

The London Stock Exchange building is seen in central London. – Reuters pic
The London Stock Exchange building is seen in central London. – Reuters pic

LONDON, July 18 — London’s stock market rebounded yesterday, with miners buoyed by solid Chinese economic growth figures, while eurozone indices were steady to slightly lower. 

Asia equities mostly increased in value following another record close on Wall Street before the weekend.

US stocks were essentially flat to start the week, with the Dow and S&P 500 retreating a bit from Friday’s records, but the the Nasdaq edging higher ahead of a heavy week of earnings.

Frankfurt ended the day 0.4 per cent lower as investors appeared to be avoiding risk before a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday, while Paris closed down slightly. 

London’s commodities-heavy FTSE 100 index however rebounded 0.4 per cent as strong Chinese growth data bolstered demand hopes from the world’s leading consumer of many raw materials.

Shares in mining giants Anglo American and Glencore closed more than one per cent higher, while Fresnillo jumped two per cent in value.

“The FTSE remained far and away yesterday’s best performer ... and is just about keeping its head above 7,400, thanks to the dual boosts of some China-inspired gains in the commodity sector and a Brexit-dragged showing from sterling,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

The world’s No. 2 economy expanded an annualized 6.9 per cent in the second quarter, beating forecasts in an AFP survey, and indicating it is stabilizing after a long slowdown. The reading was the same as the previous three months.

XTB analyst David Cheetham however sounded a note of caution on China.

“Whilst there remains a high degree of skepticism over the accuracy of data points from the Far East, the initial reaction has been positive and attracted buyers into London-listed stocks with exposure to China,” he said.

In London, a star performer was British independent television channel ITV whose shares closed up 1.3 per cent after announcing that EasyJet boss Carolyn McCall would become its chief executive from next year. EasyJet stock gained 1.4 per cent.

Dow members Procter & Gamble rose 0.5 per cent after activist investor Nelson Peltz called for deep cost cuts and said he would seek a board seat. 

FedEx fell 1.6 per cent after it disclosed the financial impact associated with the June software virus attack on its TNT Express unit “likely” will be material. FedEx said TNT’s operations were “significantly affected”.

Key figures around 2100 GMT

New York - DOW: DOWN less than 0.1 per cent at 21,629.72 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN less than 0.1 per cent at 2,459.14 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP less than 0.1 per cent at 6,314.43 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 per cent at 7,404.13 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 per cent at 12,587.16 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 per cent at 5,230.17

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.27 per cent at 3,516.35

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 per cent at 26,470.58 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.4 per cent at 3,176.46 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for public holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1479 from US$1.1470 (RM4.92 from RM4.91)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at US$1.3057 from US$1.3098 

Dollar/yen: UP at 112.61 yen from 112.53 

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 49 cents at US$48.42 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 52 cents at US$46.02 per barrel. — AFP

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