Market report

GDP growth slows | Heathrow boost | Weir acquisition


5pm: London closes lower

The FTSE 100 closed down 51.25 points at 7,618.31

9am: London lower

Lloyds Banking Group topped the FTSE 100, up 1.58%, while Sainsbury’s was 1.3% higher thanks to positive broker comment.

Among the mid-cap stocks media group Ascential jumped 7% after confirming speculation that it might break itself up.

The FTSE 100 was 36.55 points lower at 7,633.01.

7.15am: GDP growth slows

UK economic growth slowed in February to 0.1% following a rise of 0.8% in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A fall in manufacturing was off-set by growth in the services sector including areas such as tourism and travel.

The ONS also said that the UK economy is 1.5% above its pre-coronavirus pandemic level in February 2020.

Economists had been expecting gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 0.3% in February.

7am: Heathrow rebounds

Passenger numbers at Heathrow Airport surged to 4.2m in March, a more than seven-fold year-on-year jump.

The update included an acknowledgement of current congestion which it blamed on a combination of staff shortages and the continuing need for Covid testing in some markets.

The airport said the return of demand is “very welcome, though it is unclear whether the current surge in outbound leisure demand is sustainable, or what impact the war in Ukraine, high fuel prices, low GDP growth and potential new variants of concern will have on medium term demand.  We are reviewing our forecasts and will give a further update later in April.”

“It is fantastic to see the airport coming back to life after two years,” said Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye.

7am: Weir Group acquisition

Weir Group, the Glasgow-based mining technology company, has acquired Carriere Industrial Supply, a manufacturer and distributor of components to the Canadian mining industry for an enterprise value of £20m.

The acquisition will be earnings and margin accretive in year one with returns expected to exceed the group’s cost of capital in the first full year of ownership.

Andrew Neilson, president of Weir’s ESCO Division said: “The acquisition of CIS aligns with our strategy of providing direct sales and service to our mining customers and builds on our longstanding partnership, while also enhancing our capabilities in underground hard rock mining applications.”

6.30am: Musk not joining Twitter board

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk will not be joining Twitter’s board of directors as previously announced.

Full story here

Global markets

Rising inflation in China is adding to worries of a global recession and markets were tipped to open lower

China’s factory-gate inflation was higher than expected in March Covid cases rise and the war in Ukraine pushes up oil prices.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was down 0.8%, the Shanghai Composite was 2.0% lower, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 2.8%.

Brent was quoted at $100.37 a barrel on Monday morning, down from $101.33 a barrel Friday evening.

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