Inflation at 10-year high | no Halloween lift for retail
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5pm: London lower on inflation
Higher than expected UK inflation bolstered the case for an interest rate hike from the Bank of England next month, forcing up the pound and causing many of the FTSE100 constituents to fall as they depend on earnings from overseas.
The index closed down 35.77 points, or 0.5%, at 7,291.20.
Accounting software provider Sage Group was the standout performer, up 9.7%, after saying it sees organic recurring sales growth accelerating in the year ahead, while margins should improve.
Full-year revenue fell 3% to £1.85 billion. However, organic recurring revenue grew 5% to £1.64bn, which Sage said was underpinned by Sage Business Cloud growth of 19%.
Pretax profit for the year ended 30 September, dipped to £347 million from £373m.
SSE lost 4.3% after the power utility confirmed that it plans to sell electricity network interests to fund investment in its renewables arm. Full story here
9.15am: Banks benefit from inflation rise
NatWest and Lloyds were among the biggest risers on the market as the prospect of an interest rate hike followed higher than expected inflation figures (see below).
“Inflation at a 10-year high of 4.2% makes for uncomfortable reading and goes to show the punishing effects of higher energy and food prices on family finances. It almost certainly means the Bank of England will raise interest rates soon, potentially as soon as next month,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
“The prospect of higher rates has given some support to the pound, but the movement is only mild which suggests that rising inflation is a surprise to no-one. Sterling gained 0.1% against the US dollar at $1.3440.”
The FTSE 100 dipped 0.2% to 7,310 as the small strength in the pound is bad for the large number of companies which generate their earnings in foreign currencies.
7am: Inflation at ten year high
Consumer prices rose by 4.2% in annual terms last month, higher than a forecast of 3.9% and its highest level for a decade.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the consumer prices index (CPI) measure jumped from 3.1% the previous month.
The figures showed that the 12% increase in the energy price cap on household bills on 1 October was among the factors contributing the most to the spike alongside education, transport, eating out and fashion costs.
The cap is tipped by economists to add even more fuel to the inflation fire in the spring, when the next review takes effect, if it reflects rises in wholesale gas costs since last summer.
Analysts believe the rise in inflation is likely to prompt the Bank of England to raise interest rates next month.
7am: SSE net zero plan
Energy group SSE will invest in further partners in renewables and sell up to 25% in its electricity network business, SSEN Transmission and SSEN Distribution.
It said that selling minority stakes will enable it to unlock growth to the fullest whilst maintaining an attractive balance of capital allocation across the group.
7am: Fright night for retail
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium: “Not even the return of Hallowe’en and guising could lift Scottish retail sales last month as frightening figures showed a 11% slump compared to the similar trading period prior to the pandemic.
It was a month when households contended with spikes in the cost of living, notably energy bills and prices at the petrol pump, as well as the end of furlough, and as parts of the retail industry were challenged by shipping and stock shortages.
“This underwhelming performance is especially disconcerting as October is traditionally the third biggest retail month of the year and usually heralds the start of festive trading.”
Ahead of inflation figures London was expected to follow a weaker Asian session. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo ended down 0.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.4%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 0.4%.
This was despite gains in New York on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending up 0.2%, the S&P 500 up 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.8%