Monday 17 May 2021 2:53 pm

Wall Street slips as banking stocks and stronger pound weigh on FTSE 100

Wall Street opened lower this afternoon, reversing a strong recovery late last week as investors turned their attention back to inflation worries.

The Dow Jones slipped 0.02 per cent and the S&P 500 opened lower by 0.09 per cent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.46 per cent at the opening bell.

It came after London’s FTSE 100 fell into the red as heavyweight banking stocks and a stronger pound weighed on the index.

The blue-chip index dropped 0.7 per cent in morning trading, as swathes of the British economy were set to reopen after months of Covid restrictions.

From today in England, gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed outdoors, while cafes, bars and restaurants will reopen for indoor services.

Retailers, homebuilders and personal goods makers were among the biggest FTSE 100 gainers.

Meanwhile, the domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 fell 0.2 per cent, despite boosts from leisure and retail stocks.

Market movers

The morning’s biggest winner was City investment manager M&G, which rose 4.4 per cent, followed by BT Group, up by 2.3 per cent.

Miners Polymetal and Anglo American also rose 1.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

Fresnillo was the morning’s biggest faller, dropping by 1.7 per cent, followed by hotel firm Whitbread’s 1.5 per cent hit.

Meanwhile, digital grocer Ocado and Hargreaves Lansdown both dipped by 1.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.

Around the world

Wall Street started softer today after a sharp rebound on Thursday and Friday.

Investors have been rattled by signs of inflationary pressures building in the economy amid concerns it could prompt a tightening of monetary policy.

Attention also turned to retail earnings for a further indication of how consumer spending is recovering from the pandemic.

Walmart, Home Depot and Macy’s are among the major US retailers set to report results this week.

Shares in Discovery jumped almost six per cent after AT&T announced a major deal to merge its media assets, including HBO and CNN, with the company. Shares in AT&T were up more than four per cent.

Asian stocks turned mixed today as Chinese retail sales missed expectations and Singapore closed schools to fight a Covid outbreak.

Chinese retail sales rose 17.7 per cent in April compared to a year ago, short of forecasts for a 24.9 per cent jump.

“Industrial activity remains robust, supported by strong external demand for Chinese goods as vaccinations accelerate in developed countries,” CommSec economist Ryan Felsman said.

“But continuing global supply chain disruptions – including a semiconductor shortage – and surging commodity prices have sapped some momentum as production costs increase.”

Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.9 per cent, having touched its lowest since early January last week, while Euro Stoxx 50 futures added 0.3 per cent.