Market report

ECB rate hold fails to halt another slide in stocks


The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged for the first time since June last year, supporting a move to ease off on the aggressive monetary tightening campaign around the world.

Christine Lagarde, the president of the ECB, and the other members of the governing council chose to leave official borrowing costs across the 20 countries that use the euro at 4%.

The decision has heightened speculation that the Bank of England will keep the UK’s base rate unchanged at 5.25% when the monetary policy committee meets next week.

Despite the ECB’s decision, the FTSE 100 slid 59.77 points to close at 7,354.57 as weak corporate figures dominated investor sentiment.

New data showed the US economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter of the year, helped by a tight jobs market and consumer spending.

The economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.9% in the July to September period, according to the government’s first estimate. It marked the biggest rise seen since the last three months of 2021.

Disappointing earnings from the US Big Tech stocks hit investment trusts in London, which own significant holdings in the main players such as Apple and Tesla.

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, which gives British investors access American technology stocks, slipped 13p to 638p.

Bank reporting has been mixed, with Barclays getting the cold shoulder on Tuesday while Lloyds was well received on Wednesday. Standard Chartered joined the fallers as the bank revealed that its profits more than halved in the third quarter after being hit from its exposure to China’s real estate and banking sectors.

Its shares tumbled 74.25p to a five-month low of 640p, while HSBC, another Asia-focused lender that is due to update the market on Monday, lost 10.75p to close at 604.5p.

The Restaurant Group, owner of Wagamama, confirmed that it has received a request within the last week from Wheel Topco, the owner of PizzaExpress Group which is interested in gatecrashing a takeover offer by Apollo Asset Management.

No written or verbal indicative proposal has been made to the board of TRG by Wheel Topco and TRG shareholders have been advised to take no action at this time.

The TRG board said it has no intention of withdrawing its recommendation to accept Apollo’s bid, via special purpose vehicle Rock Bidco, whichwas unveiled on 12 October.

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