Thursday 25 March 2021 1:50 pm

FTSE 10 and Wall Street slip despite encouraging economic data

Mining stocks continued to drag down the FTSE 100 this afternoon while Wall Street opened lower despite an encouraging set of unemployment figures.

London’s blue-chip index is down more than one per cent this afternoon with Antofogosta and Glencore all shedding more than four per cent.

Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane said he remained confident that Britain’s economy was poised for a quick recovery as the country races ahead with its vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, the mid-cap FTSE 250 also dropped by 0.95 per cent, led by declines in financials stocks.

Wall Street mirrored London with the benchmark S&P 500 opening down 0.3 per cent despite unemployment claims reaching their lowest point since the start of the pandemic and a decent set of PMI numbers.

Read more: Cineworld plunges to $3bn loss as screen closures continue

Market movers

Cineworld dropped more than nine per cent in early trading and is now trading down 7.3 per cent after reporting a record $2.3bn loss.

“Despite plans to reopen in the US in April and over here in May, there are ongoing concerns about getting bums on seats,” Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com said.

“It seems that despite reopening in May, it won’t be back to normal quickly – lots of people are going to be fearful of enclosed spaces like cinemas. Shares remain among the most shorted in London, with around 5.6% out on loan.”

Assurance company Intertek led the index’s biggest risers this afternoon trading 2.7 per cent higher. Credit checkers Experian and Vodafone also rose 1.4 per cent and one per cent respectively.

Fashion house Burberry is today’s biggest faller, down 6.6 per cent, in the wake of China retaliation over dropping cotton made in Xinjiang over labour concerns.

Read more: BP plans UK’s largest hydrogen plant in Teesside

Wall Street opens lower despite fall in jobless claims

US stocks opened sluggishly this afternoon despite signs of economic revival in jobless claim figures.

The Dow Jones is down 0.7 per cent while the benchmark S&P 500 has slipped 0.4 per cent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index opened 0.2 per cent lower.

Figures from the Labor Department published today show initial claims for state unemployment benefits came in at 684,000, down from 781,000 a week earlier.

Claims are now at their lowest level since the middle of March last year and below the pre-pandemic high of 695,000. 

“It’s a good day for US data. Hard on the heels of the decent PMI numbers these show that the economy is in good health. The current and forward looking data is backing up the optimistic mood. The reflation trade bulls will see plenty to go for in this,” Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Miton Investors said.

In testimonies to Congress this week, Fed chair Jerome Powell has sounded an optimistic tone about the economic recovery. All eyes now fall to President Biden’s news conference later this afternoon, in which he is expected to lay out a new goal for US vaccinations as well as set unveil a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh.

Read more: Crypto market recovery stalls, but institutional investment in Asia growing

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