Market report

GDP revised upwards | Parkmead’s green growth

4.30pm: Market higher

The FTSE 100 ended the trading week on a high. The index rose 0.15%, closing at 7,631.74.

It has grown 3.06% over the final week of March, although is yet to reverse the losses sparked by the banking crisis earlier this month. The blue-chip index is down 3.58% on the month. 

Sterling has gained 2.3% against the dollar this year, ahead of all others in the so-called G10 group of major economies. It is benefiting from the market’s conviction that the Bank of England will need to continue raising rates.

Traders say there is a 75% chance that interest rates will increase by 0.25 percentage points in May.

7am: House prices fall

House prices fell 3.1% in March compared to last year – the largest annual decline since July 2009, with Scotland showing the weakest performance.

Full story

7am: GDP grows

UK output grew in the final quarter of 2022, a revision on an earlier estimate that there was no growth.

GDP is now estimated to have increased from 0.1% in Q4, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The data adds to growing evidence that the economy will avoid recession this year.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at ONS, said: “The economy performed a little more strongly in the latter half of last year than previously estimated, with later data showing telecommunications, construction and manufacturing all faring better than initially thought in the latest quarter.”

“Households saved more in the last quarter, with their finances boosted by the government’s energy bill support scheme.

Business confidence rises

7am: Parkmead

Energy group Parkmead said it is benefiting from stable revenue generated onshore in Scotland and is conducting a scoping study on a new site in Scotland which has the potential for a solar farm.

Environmental studies are also ongoing at Pitreadie which are expected to form part of a major wind farm planning application.

Revenue for the half year to the end of December more than doubled to £11.1 million (2021: £4.6 million) as the company benefited from robust production through a sustained period of high gas prices.

The pre-tax loss for the period grew to £5.16m (2021: £1.2m), while the net loss before impairment charge came in at £1.2m (2021: £0.4m)

Executive chairman, Tom Cross, said the company had produced a strong performance.

“Parkmead now benefits from stable revenue generated by clean, renewable sources, onshore Scotland. This is in addition to our high-quality onshore gas assets across the Netherlands,” he said.

“The group has achieved an increase in revenue of over 140% on the prior year period, and outstanding growth in net cash generated from operating activities of over 400%.

“Parkmead’s successful drilling campaign in the Netherlands has resulted in the LDS-01 well encountering new commercial gas volumes. This well has been swiftly tied into production infrastructure, with first gas due imminently.

“We continue to maintain strict financial discipline across all our existing energy projects. This is in addition to the ongoing evaluation of acquisition opportunities that will complement the Group and maximise shareholder value.”

Global markets

The world’s second-largest economy is slowly rebounding after posting some of its weakest growth in decades in 2022.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index – a key gauge of Chinese factory output – beat expectations but fell to 51.9 points in March, from 52.6 in February, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. Growth in the services and construction sectors surged to a 12-year high.

Chinese equities responded positively, with the Shanghai Composite up 0.3% and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong up 0.6%

Elsewhere in Asia, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was up 1.0%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 0.8%.

Wall Street ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.4%, the S&P 500 up 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.7%.

Sterling was quoted at $1.2388 early Friday, higher than $1.2371 at the London equities close on Thursday.

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