Shares subdued after Chancellor’s statement
The FTSE 100 was barely unmoved by the Autumn Statement and closed down by 0.03% or 2.01 points at 6,817.71, alongside a gain of 0.26% for the pound against the US dollar.
In early trade today the index was 0.2% lower at 6,807.45 ahead of a likely quieter session with traders in the US celebrating Thanksgiving.
Oil prices were little changed as investors continued to look to next week’s OPEC meeting in the hope that a production cut will be agreed. West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude were down 0.2% to $47.87 a barrel and $48.84, respectively.
An absence of further news on help to buy left shares in housebuilders subdued despite Mr Hammond confirming plans to support further construction.
In today’s early trades Legal & General was higher after announcing the sale of its Netherlands business to London-listed pensions firm Chesnara for €160m.
Rio Tinto nudged up after chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said the mining giant can boost cash flow by $5m over the next five years by a new “productivity drive”.
Pub operator Marston’s advanced as it said pre-tax profit and revenue for the year to 1 October grew.
Heading the other way was Countrywide as it issued its second profit warning this year, saying core earnings for 2016 would take a hit as a result of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. The stock was already on the slide after Mr Hammond unveiled a clampdown on estate agent lettings fees.
Most Asian stock markets fell as upbeat economic data strengthened the prospect for higher US interest rates, while the dollar’s bull run continued with US bond yields propelled to multi-year highs.