London markets in the red as record Eurozone growth fails to woo traders

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter
·3 min read

The London markets finished in the red following a brutal end to October for global traders.

On Friday, the Eurozone reported the fastest growth on record as it rebounded with 12.7% growth in the quarter to September but this failed to drive a U-turn in sentiment.

London’s top flight had also been boosted by strong performances for banking stocks after Natwest returned to profit.

The FTSE 100 closed 4.48 points lower at 5,577.27 at the end of trading on Friday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It has been a brutal week for equities and it looks as if the major European indices will finish in the red today.

“A mixture of rising Covid-19 cases and the announcement of tougher restrictions clobbered stocks.”

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “The situation was more mixed in the Eurozone.

“This despite all of the French, German, Spanish, Italian and Eurozone-wide Q3 GDP readings besting analysts’ estimates this morning.”

The German Dax decreased by 0.36%, while the French Cac moved 0.54% higher.

Apple
A 5% decline in Apple stock caused the Dow Jones to slump (Victoria Jones/PA)

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones slumped on the bell as it was particularly hampered by a China-led 5% decline in Apple stock.

Meanwhile, sterling rebounded from Thursday’s two week lower as it benefited from fall in the value of the dollar.

The pound rose by 0.16% versus the US dollar at 1.294 and was up 0.44% against the euro at 1.112.

In company news, Natwest led the risers on the FTSE after it became the latest bank to beat gloomy expectations as it reported a profit when analysts had predicted a loss.

The company, which owns the Royal Bank of Scotland, said on Friday that pre-tax profit had hit £355 million in its most recent quarter against the £75 million forecast loss.

NatWest
NatWest’s return to profit beat gloomy expectations (Matt Crossick/PA)

Last year, the bank lost £8 million over the same three-month period. Shares closed 7.05p higher at 124.2p.

British Airways owner IAG also pushed higher despite swinging to a pre-tax loss of 6.2 billion euros (£5.6 billion) for the nine months to the end of September.

Investor confidence improved despite chief Luis Gallego saying it expects it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels.

It closed 5.36p higher at 96.44p.

Tech firm Computacenter saw shares dip despite saying it was “highly pleased” with recent trading across geographies.

It finished down 24p at 2,274p after saying it had a strong backlog of orders for the fourth quarter.

Shell
Shell was one of FTSE’s big risers of the day (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Boohoo lifted higher after it was upgraded to a ‘neutral’ rating by Credit Suisse. Shares rose by 4.3p to 271.6p after the Swiss bank said it expects news surrounding the company to be more balanced following recent criticism over its employment practices.

The price of oil improved as traders bought again following a mass sell off in energy stocks on Thursday.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil increased by 0.4% to 37.53 US dollars.

The FTSE 100’s biggest risers of the day were Natwest, up 7.05p at 124.2p; IAG, up 5.36p at 96.44p; ABF, up 58p at 1,697.5p; and Shell, up 32.7p at 965.4p

The biggest fallers of the day were Ocado, down 74p at 2,276p; Avast, down 14.8p at 474.4p; Just Eat Takeaway, down 232p at 8568p; and Rentokil down 12.4p at 526p.