FTSE starts higher but starts losing ground

The FTSE opened higher but quickly started losing ground in early trade with Admiral Group, Barratt Development and Anglo American leading the way lower.

The FTSE opened higher but quickly started losing ground in early trade with Admiral Group, Barratt Development and Anglo American leading the way lower.

In contrast, European markets were on the rise benefiting from a major divestment by the French hotel chain Casino and plans by food retailer Carrefour to work with Google on online shopping plans.

The long-awaited meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended up on a positive note with the two heads of state signing a document committing to the complete removal of nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. 

The agreement could pave the way for the opening up of the country to the rest of the world and building of new business and trade links in Asia.

UK unemployment data expected to hold steady

The UK unemployment and average earnings data due out at 9.30 will be a good indicator whether the Bank of England needs to get concerned over the state of the country’s economy, particularly in the light of yesterday’s week industrial output and manufacturing figures. Unemployment rate is expected to have held steady at 4.2% with average earnings growth also unchanged at 2.9%. The BoE has postponed plans to raise interest rates at its last meeting as inflation started cooling down. Any further weak figures will prevent the bank from raising rates in the immediate future.

The pound lost ground against the dollar and euro yesterday following poor industrial and manufacturing output data and this morning continued to slide against the dollar to $1.3349.

Halma reports record profit

The FTSE 100 health and technology group Halma had some unusual activity with shares initially bouncing after the company reported record profit and sales for the full year but then slipping into the red to trade down 0.7%. 

Group sales shot past £1 billion and its adjusted pre-tax profits rose 10% to £213.7 million as company begun reaping the benefit from five acquisitions last year and seeing good overall growth.

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