London’s FTSE 100 slipped in the City today as online fashion retailer ASOS was pummelled after a dim set of results.
The capital’s premier index shed 0.29 per cent to close at 7,741.32 points, while the domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index, which is more aligned with the health of the UK economy, lost 0.15 per cent to finish at 19,248.3 points.
Shares in London were fairly muted in the opening session today, with banks leading the way driven by investors piling into the sector the day before the Bank of England’s next interest rate decision.
Markets reckon Bank Governor Andrew Bailey and the rest of the monetary policy committee – the group tasked with setting borrowing costs in Britain – will opt for a 25 basis points rise to 4.5 per cent, the twelfth straight upward move.
Those expectations put upward pressure on shares in high street banks, who tend to benefit from a higher interest rate environment as it allows them to charge more for loans.
Barclays advanced 1.32 per cent, while NatWest and Lloyds Bank, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, added around 0.9 per cent apiece. However those gains rain out of steam in the afternoon.
Consumer-focused stocks suffered heavy selling likely on concerns households could finally cut back on spending in response to inflation squeezing their pay packets.
Online supermarket Ocado led losses on the FTSE 100, sliding more than four per cent. Marmite maker Unilever lost nearly two per cent, while Britain’s largest supermarket Tesco slipped around 2.3 per cent.
Most of the action was concentrated on mid-cap FTSE 250 after a string of results from firms listed on the index landed this morning.
Online fashion giant ASOS catapulted more than 20 per cent lower and to the bottom of the index after it said it had swung to a loss in the six months to February, driven by sales trimming.
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon, commonly known as Spoons, surged to near to the top of the FTSE 250, rising more than five per cent after it posted a surge in sales today.
Derren Nathan, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “JD Wetherspoon has seen a further acceleration in its sales growth, with trading now firmly ahead of pre-pandemic levels. With an extra bank holiday in the last quarter, it’s likely to finish the year with a flourish.”
Bus operator and FTSE 250 listed National Express announced this morning it’s changing its name to “Mobico”. Its shares fell about 1.3 per cent.
The pound weakened slightly against the US dollar. Big investment banks have canned their predictions that sterling was on course for parity against the greenback in response to the UK economy outperforming dire forecasts.
Oil prices slipped around one per cent.