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London stocks edge higher after mixed session for European markets

London stocks edge higher after mixed session for European markets

The FTSE 100 was up 10 points on the day

The FTSE 100 closed marginally higher during a mixed and broadly muted session across Europe.

The rise in London came after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell sought to calm the markets after hawkish comments on Tuesday, which indicated rate hikes could be accelerated, impacted trading sentiment at the end of the session.

On Wednesday, he appeared more restrained in tone following the comment on Capitol Hill.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It was looking set to be a rather mixed day for markets in Europe, although we have seen a move into positive territory during the afternoon session on the back of Fed chairman Powell’s clarification on what the Fed is likely to do on rates in two weeks’ time.

“In a manner of a parent soothing an errant child Powell merely restated that the Federal Reserve remains data-dependent and that nothing has been decided when it comes to whether we get 25bps (basis points) or 50 bps.

“As an exercise in stating the obvious, the comments appear to have helped push markets to their highs of the day, bringing about a modest rebound into the close.”

It helped improve sentiment in London, which had seen insurers among the fallers after a weak showing by Admiral.

The FTSE 100 moved 0.13%, or 10.44 points, higher to finish at 7,929.92.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German Dax rose by 0.58%, and the French Cac 40 decreased by 0.15% at close.

Across the Atlantic, the main US markets opened modestly higher after the latest ADP payrolls report showed that 242,000 jobs were added in February, slightly above expectations.

Meanwhile, sterling moved marginally higher but continued to tread water around a three-month low against the dollar.

The pound was up 0.07% at 1.184 US dollars, and by 0.04% to 1.121 euros at market close in London.

In company news, the owner of Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Wagamama has said it plans to close around 35 sites and warned that job losses would come as a result.

The Restaurant Group said that the sites set for closure are loss making, and that the business would close the restaurants when the leases expire.

The company’s losses widened last year, hitting £86.8 million before tax, compared with £35.2 million a year earlier. The business blamed this in part on inflation. Shares closed down significantly, dropping 6.96p to 38.36p.

Meanwhile, there was a similar story at Admiral as shares in the insurer fell by 85p to 2,003p when it said annual profit dropped 39% last year due to inflation and higher motor insurance claims.

It was one of the most challenging years in decades Admiral said as it disappointed shareholders by slashing its dividend by 40%.

Cybersecurity group Darktrace said that a recent spate of hacks had helped its sales. But despite better-than-expected results the business’s shares closed down 2p to 261.9p.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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