Market report

US tech stocks rise | Slower factory growth in UK


10pm: US markets hit fresh highs

The Nasdaq closed at a record high, and the S&P 500 rose but just missed a fresh peak, as September kicked off with renewed buying of technology stocks.

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.14% the S&P 500 gained 0.03% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.33%.

Over the last 20 trading days the S&P 500 posted 55 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 131 new highs and 17 new lows.

5pm: London rises though manufacturing growth slows

The FTSE 100 closed in positive territory, up nearly 30 points, or 0.42% at 7,149, as data showed UK manufacturing growth slowing to a five-month low in August amid supply chain issues.

The IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was still, however, above the 50 mark that separates contraction from expansion and above the long-run average of 51.9.

The survey found that manufacturers continued to face rising constraints caused by supply chain issues.

Shortages of inputs and delivery delays disrupted production schedules, leading to slower output growth, and also marked increases in input prices.

Companies nonetheless still achieved solid gains in output, new orders and employment.

9am: Stocks rise

London stocks rose in early trade following more positive sentiment in Asia, and ahead of new figures on the UK manufacturing sector.

In the housing market a survey from Nationwide showed house prices rose 2.1% in August following a 0.6% increase in July. This was the second-largest jump in 15 years.

WH Smith slumped after it lifted full-year guidance but warned that 2022 profits were expected to be at the lower end of expectations as the travel sector’s path of recovery from the Covid pandemic remained uncertain.

The FTSE 100 was 54.61 points higher at 7,174.31.

7am: Babcock sells Aberdeen business

Babcock, the international aerospace, defence and security company, has completed the sale of its Aberdeen-based oil and gas aviation business to CHC Group for £10 million.

Proceeds from the sale, announced in March, will be used to reduce net debt.

Full story here

7am: Menzies back in profit

Logistics firm Menzies returned to profit in the half year to 30 June with the underlying figure before tax coming at £10.9m against a £48.7m loss in the corresponding period last year.

No dividend is to be paid in respect of the first half results.

Full story here

7am: Scotgold hits key milestone

Gold miner Scotgold Resources said monthly production revenues at its mine near Loch Lomond have exceeded operating costs for the first time in the company’s history.

Full story here

Global markets

Asian shares gave up some of their recent gains as worries about slowing global growth in several markets returned to weigh on traders’ minds. Chinese blue chips fell 0.44% and Hong Kong 0.5%.

However, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.89%, boosted by data showing that Japanese companies’ capital spending rose in the second quarter, the first such increase since the pandemic began.

Oil was steady, with US crude at $68.49 a barrel, and Brent crude at $71.72 per barrel, neither changed much on the day, having finished August with their first monthly losses since March.

An OPEC+ meeting, where major producers will decide whether to go ahead with their plan to add supply, is due to take place later today.

Wall Street stocks closed slightly lower although August was the seventh consecutive winning month for the S&P 500 which closed 0.13% weaker.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.11% and the Nasdaq Composite closed 0.04% softer.

In corporate news, Zoom shares plunged almost 17% after revealing that second-quarter revenues had slowed despite raising guidance and beating on earnings as a result of the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.

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