Market report

Rate cut hopes | gold hits record | Springfield sale

London and financial services
London’s leading index began the week lower (pic: Terry Murden DB Media Services)

Investors consolidated last week’s gains as they look ahead to key data on the US jobs market. 

US nonfarm payrolls will be announced on Friday and an interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve follows next week. Deutsche believes that lukewarm US data could prompt a Fed cut as soon as the first-quarter of the new year.

London’s lead index closed down 16.39 points (0.22%) at 7512.96, led by falls in mining stocks. Anglo American was down 3.74%, while Glencore was 3.07% lower. Rolls-Royce, up 3.14%, and JD Sports, 2.84% higher were the biggest risers.

Brent Crude traded at $78.21 a barrel early today down from $78.99 late Friday.

The prospect of lower interest rates helped lift the price of gold to a record high during Asian trading hours. Gold is considered a safety net against inflation and the price of the precious metal has risen to $2,111 an ounce, before falling back to $2,086.

The rising price has not been enough to save Scottish gold mine Scotgold Resources which last week plunged into administration.

Springfield Properties land sale


Springfield Properties, the Scottish housebuilder, is selling 45 acres of land, equal to 190 plots, for £4.2m to help reduce debt.

The group will receive £830,000 on completion of the sale, which is expected later this month, with the remainder to be paid by 22 May 2024.

Shares rose 2p (2.78%) at 74p.

Innes Smith, CEO, said: “We are pleased to have agreed another profitable land sale as we continue to deliver on our strategy to reduce our debt position.

“In the last two months, we have secured almost £10m in land sales, with the proceeds to all be received during the current financial year – and without any impact on our development pipeline for the coming years.

“We continue to receive strong demand for our large, high quality land bank. Accordingly, this sale, alongside others that we expect to conclude in the near-term, mean that we are well-positioned to meet our debt reduction targets.”

Petrofac asset sale

Shares in oil services group Petrofac shot up 3.81p (22.40%) to 21.2p after saying it is considering a sale of assets to shore up its finances.

The company said it is “examining a range of strategic and financial options” to improve its balance sheet after delays in securing advance payment guarantees on its pipeline of work..

Chief executive Tareq Kawash insists the underlying business remains “robust”.

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