Mining stocks boosted the FTSE 100 index today as investors welcomed stronger-than-expected figures from China’s manufacturing sector.
The rally fuels hopes that December will maintain its record as the top flight’s best performing month of the year.
Key developments today included a slower pace of decline in the UK manufacturing sector and a third monthly rise in a row for the Nationwide house price index.
FTSE 100 Live Friday
House prices up for third month in a row
Mining sector rally boosts FTSE 100
Manufacturing sector in slower decline
Miners lead the way as FTSE closes up 1%
Friday 1 December 2023 16:40 , Daniel O'Boyle
The FTSE 100 closed up 1% at 7,529.35 today, ending the week ahead.
Miners led the way, with Anglo American up 7.4% and Antofagasta, Glencore and Rio Tinto also among the top risers.
Tesco and Pearson were the biggest fallers.
Here's a last look at your key market data:
US stocks to open slightly lower
Friday 1 December 2023 13:47 , Daniel O'Boyle
US stocks are set to start December slightly lower.
Dow Jones futures are down just seven points to 36,003.00, while S&P 500 futures are down 7.5 points at 4,569.25. Nasdaq futures are down slightly more, 41 points lower at 15,944.50.
Bunq comes back to London
Friday 1 December 2023 13:03 , Simon Hunt
One of Europe’s biggest challenger banks is plotting a return to the UK, the Standard can reveal, in a sign that London remains an attractive financial hub for EU investors.
Bunq, which is the second largest neobank in the EU with more than nine million customers and €4.5 billion in deposits, stopped offering new accounts in the UK at the end of 2020, citing Brexit-related red tape difficulties, while its German rival N26 closed all UK accounts and withdrew entirely.
But Amsterdam-based Bunq is now eyeing a comeback and is exploring ways to bring new customers on board. The firm incorporated a new UK subsidiary in late November, Companies House filings show, with a registered office in Regent Street in the capital’s central shopping district.
Londoners will pay extra £35 million in heating bills because of 'big freeze'
Friday 1 December 2023 12:27 , Daniel O'Boyle
Londoners are set to pay an extra £35 million in heating bills during this week’s big freeze, an Evening Standard analysis has found.
Over the next six days, when temperatures are set to drop to freezing, combined heating bills for London’s 3.5 million households are set to reach £123.5 million. That’s £35 million more than the amount that would be paid if temperatures were typical for this time of year.
While London has seen many colder weeks, high gas prices make every degree of heating required especially costly. The energy price cap has fallen substantially since last winter, currently sitting at £1,834, but the end of the £66-a-month energy support scheme means many households - especially smaller ones - will pay more for heating than they did last winter.
Abu Dhabi firm buys Nine Elms developer London Square for £230m
Friday 1 December 2023 11:34 , Daniel O'Boyle
An Abu Dhabi real estate firm has bought UK developer London Square in a £230 million deal.
Aldar Properties said on Friday it has expanded outside of the Middle East for the first time after securing the takeover of the London-based firm.
London Square was founded in 2010 and is known for the Nine Elms development near to Battersea Power Station.
It said it has created a development pipeline worth over £2 billion, with 3,500 homes completed and a further 930 under construction.
City Comment: Darling was better at his job, and a better man, than any of today's lot
Friday 1 December 2023 10:36 , Daniel O'Boyle
Four significant deaths in the last few days – forgive me if I have overlooked one that meant a lot to you personally.
Henry Kissinger went not a moment too soon at 100.
Warren Buffett’s side-kick Charlie Munger at a well-deserved 99 – testament to a life well lived.
Alistair Darling at a harsh 70. And Shane MacGowan at 65, a tribute to how much punishment some human bodies can withstand.
What if they had done job swaps?
Miners boost FTSE 100, Pearson shares lower after downgrade
Friday 1 December 2023 10:04 , Graeme Evans
Hopes of another December bounce for the FTSE 100 index were given an early boost today after heavyweight mining stocks surged in value.
Anglo American led the way, up 5.5% or 118p to 2260p as UBS analysts said it was time to buy the stock following a year of underperformance versus peers.
The group, whose interests include De Beers diamonds and the Woodsmith fertiliser mine project in North Yorkshire, is due to hold a City briefing next Friday.
China’s stronger-than-expected manufacturing figures also helped as Rio Tinto rallied 3% or 173p to 5572p and Chile’s Antofagasta by 43p to 1451.5p.
The mining momentum meant the FTSE 100 index started its most successful month of the year up 0.9% or 66.81 points to 7520.56.
AJ Bell’s analysis shows the top flight averages 2.2% higher in December, having fallen just eight times since 1984.
However, the top flight has some catching up to do after a lacklustre November in comparison to gains of 8% on Wall Street.
Improved risk appetite meant London investors switched out of defensive stocks to leave Tesco down 4.9p to 280.9p and Sainsbury’s off 2.8p at 283.1p.
Coursework publisher Pearson also retreated 17.4p to 919.8p as Deutsche Bank removed its “buy” stance following a strong run.
The bank did the same for ITV due to challenging economic conditions, sending the I’m a Celebrity broadcaster down 0.6p to 59.5p in the FTSE 250.
The second tier rose 93.79 points to 18,327.26.
Manufacturing sector still declining, but much more slowly
Friday 1 December 2023 09:42 , Daniel O'Boyle
The UK manufacturing sector remains in decline, but at a much slower pace than in recent months, according to a key business survey.
The S&P Global / CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) jumped from near historic lows to its highest level since April this morning. At 47.2, the PMI reading still suggests the sector is in decline, but S&P said the improved figures are a sign the sector is “potentially turning a corner”.
Glynn Bellamy, UK Head of Industrial Products for KPMG, said:
“A slowdown in inflation and a pause in interest rate hikes has slightly eased the pressure on manufacturers, but costs remain high in relative terms.
“Manufacturers exposed to weaker consumer demand, from both domestic and export markets, continue to suffer most from new order downturn - with post-pandemic destocking also a factor.
“The performance of other parts of the sector, such as aerospace and defence, are faring much better – but do still face their own supply chain challenges that limit output.”
FTSE opens higher
Friday 1 December 2023 09:33 , Simon Hunt
A bit over an hour into the day's trading session in London, the FTSE 100 has started the month in positive territory, up three-quarters of 1%.
Here's a look at your key market data:
'Santa' and 'elf' job listings down from 2022 as retailers expect slower Christmas
Friday 1 December 2023 09:04 , Daniel O'Boyle
The number of job listings for the roles of “Santa Claus” and “Elf” is down compared to 2022, in a sign the retail sector is expecting lower footfall this Christmas.
According to jobs platform Indeed, listings are down 15% from 2022, as cost of living pressures threaten to spoil the Christmas cheer this year.
But the number of jobs advertised is still above pre-pandemic levels.
Mind Gym founder departs as it swings to loss
Friday 1 December 2023 08:51 , Simon Hunt
Mind Gym today reported its founder would step back as CEO after the HR consultancy swung to a £13 million loss.
The company said its boss Octavius Black would be moved into an executive chair role so that it could “transition away from a founder dependent business.”
Black, who has co-authored several books including ‘Give Me Time’, ‘Wake Your Mind Up’ and ‘Relationships’, controls a 55% stake in the firm which has halved in value to around £20 million since the start of the year as cash-strapped business looked to slash consulting expenses in a bid to cut costs.
Mind Gym’s sales fell 22% to £20.9 million in the six months to end September. Its shares fell 3% to 37p.
Miners lead FTSE 100, supermarket shares fall
Friday 1 December 2023 08:49 , Graeme Evans
Hopes of another strong December for the FTSE 100 index have been boosted after the top flight rose 0.5% or 40.98 points to 7494.73.
The rally was led by mining stocks after UBS upgraded Anglo American and Antofagasta to “buy”, sending the pair up 4% or 88.5p to 2230.5p and 31.5p to 1440p respectively.
Investors switched out of the supermarket sector after Tesco fell 5.2p to 280.6p and Sainsbury’s lost 3.5p to 282.4p.
The FTSE 250 index rose 18.58 points to 18,252.05, with Dr Martens up 2.25p to 92.45p after yesterday’s heavy results-day slide.
The biggest faller in the FTSE 250 was Imperial College spin-out Ceres Power, which shed 43.5p to 142.5p.
The green hydrogen and fuel cells firm said last night that agreements with potential licence partners are unlikely to be recognised in 2023 results.
Mail owner DMGT in new partnership to invest in energy transition companies
Friday 1 December 2023 08:02 , Daniel O'Boyle
Daily Mail parent company DMGT will partner with venture fund Moore Capital Management to invest in "energy transition" companies.
Moore will provide $200 million for the venture that will target early and growth stage businesses. DMGT will provide an unspecified amount.
Besides the Mail, DMGT also runs a number of busienss-to-business events, including in the energy sector. Moore said these events would be key to the partnership.
The new platform is expected to embark on fund-raising in Q1 of 2024.
Car manufacturing grows by 31.6% in October
Friday 1 December 2023 07:38 , Daniel O'Boyle
UK car manufacturing rose by 31.6% last month in the best October since 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Home and export manufacturing both grew, but exports continued to make up the vast majority of cars made in the UK.
Electric and hybrid manufacturing grew by more than 50% and now makes up four in ten cars made in the UK. That is despite Rishi Sunak’s decision to walk back Government electric vehicle targets.
Richard Peberdy, UK Head of Automotive for KPMG, said: “Domestic and export markets are keeping factory floors busy for the UK’s car makers, with demand for new vehicles healthy, despite the cost of living crisis and higher interest rates.
“In recent months we have seen some very welcome announcements regarding the future of electric vehicle and battery production in the UK, with hopefully more to follow. But with battery production still in its infancy in the UK and EU, the automotive industry is hoping for welcome news in the form of a delay to the 2024 rules of origin changes. They are now only a month away and could result in tariffs being added onto the cost of exporting electric vehicles in either direction across the Channel. Higher costs would threaten market competitiveness at a time when pricing is key to electric vehicle transition.”
Meanwhile, the commercial vehicle manufacturing sector had its best October since 2008.
Wall Street toasts strong month, oil lower after OPEC meeting
Friday 1 December 2023 07:29 , Graeme Evans
A bumper month for Wall Street investors last night closed with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 1.5% and the S&P 500 index ahead by 0.4%.
November’s improvement for the Dow stood at 8% and S&P 500 rallied 7.8%, buoyed by signs that the run of interest rate rises is over. The Nasdaq rose 8.9% in the month, despite a slight fall in yesterday’s session.
The FTSE 100 index lifted 0.4% on Thursday, leaving London’s top flight unchanged for November after weaker performances by heavyweights including BP, Shell and AstraZeneca.
The oil majors rose yesterday as attention focused on the latest meeting of the Opec+ alliance.
The group announced a deal to cut an extra 900,000 barrels a day of production, in addition to Saudi Arabia’s existing voluntary reduction.
However, strong US output figures and uncertainty over some of the individual OPEC quotas caused the Brent Crude price to fall back to $80 a barrel.
Ahead of today’s opening bell, CMC Markets expects the FTSE 100 index to open 35 points higher at 7488.
House prices rose in November for third month in a row according to Nationwide index
Friday 1 December 2023 07:15 , Michael Hunter
House prices rose again in November according to one of the most closely watched market trackers, in the the latest sign of a potential recovery.
The Nationwide House Price Index showed prices up 0.2% month-on-month, the third such rise in a row. Compared with the same month a year ago, it was down 2%, a smaller drop than the 2.3% predicted by City experts.
It took the average UK house price to £258,557.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, pointed to hopes that interest rate hikes were over which were helping drive the trend:
"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.
“In mid-August, investors had expected the Bank of England to raise rates to a peak of around 6% and lower them only modestly (to c.4%) over the next five years. By the end of November, this had shifted to a view that rates have now peaked (at 5.25%) and that they will be lowered to around 3.5% in the years ahead."