Wall Street stable ahead of crucial job figures
UK stocks fell slightly but managed to remain near their record high levels
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter shares plunged 21 per cent after technology news website Recode said Disney and Alphabet were not in the race for the company. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Britain’s top shares index fell on Thursday, although it remained near record highs, with budget airline EasyJet sliding lower after issuing a profit warning. The Iseq in Dublin was off by 0.6 per cent.
While banks posted their biggest three-day gain in a month following a report that the European Central Bank has had discussions about how to end its asset-purchase programme, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell for a second day.
Wall Street was little changed on Thursday, a day ahead of a crucial employment report that would show whether the economy is strong enough to absorb an interest rate hike.
FBD, the insurance company, was down up to 4 per cent at one stage in the morning, in the wake of the publishing of a new book of quantum for awards. The industry has complained that out-of-control awards are helping push up prices. FBD recovered later in the session to close down 1.3 per cent.
Ryanair was also under pressure in early trading, and was down 2.3 per cent. It regained some of the lost ground in the afternoon to finish down 1.5 per cent. Traders said its performance was a read-through from a pessimistic market assessment from its rival, EasyJet.
Tullow Oil was up more than 8 per cent, as the cost of a barrel of crude breached the $50 barrier.
EasyJet fell 6.9 per cent after the company warned its profit would fall by more than 25 per cent this year, saying security issues had dampened demand while low fuel prices meant there was more competition in the European short-haul market.
Aviva was down 10.1p to 443.3p, Kingfisher was off 5.2p to 375.2p and British Land Company dropped 19.5p to 596p as a number of companies went ex-dividend.
Away from the top tier, homewares retailer Dunelm was the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 after “unusually warm weather” took its toll on sales.
Like-for-like sales at stores plummeted 5.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to October 1st, dragging down revenue by 1.8 per cent to £198.7 million. Shares were down more than 4% or 34.5p to 823p.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Croda International up 53p to 3,611p, TUI up 15p to 1,129p, Carnival up 46p to 3,831p and Barclays up 1.8p to 174.3p.
Unicredit rose 2.3 per cent after reports that France’s Amundi had made a higher-than-expected €4 billion offer for its asset manager Pioneer.
Deutsche Bank rose as much as 2.7 per cent after German officials said that the government was pursuing discreet talks with US authorities to help the lender secure a swift settlement over the sale of toxic mortgage bonds, according to sources in Berlin. The stock later pared gains to end down 0.3 per cent but it remains 25 per cent above all-time lows hit last week.
Osram jumped 10.4 per cent to a record high on reports of a takeover offer from Chinese chipmaker Sanan Optoelectronics.
German chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor also rallied 7.3 per cent after reporting a solid set of preliminary third-quarter results.
Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, with technology countering a drag from healthcare stocks .
Walmart and Yum! Brands fell more than 1.6 per cent after their disappointing reports added to anxiety over corporate earnings on the cusp of the reporting period. Walmart forecast profits for its next fiscal year that missed some estimates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,544 to 1,278. On the Nasdaq, 1,598 issues fell and 1,071 advanced.
– (Additional reporting: Reuters/PA/Bloomberg)