LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Slips As Oil, Retail Stocks Struggle

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Stocks in the U.K. slipped Friday, teetering toward a fifth consecutive loss, with oil shares dragged alongside a selloff in oil prices, while retail stocks fell ahead of December data on retail sales.

How markets are moving: The FTSE 100 index was off 0.1% at 7,697.03, led by losses for the oil and gas, telecom and financial groups. But the basic materials and consumer goods sectors moved higher. On Thursday, the London benchmark fell 0.3%, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-faces-4th-loss-as-pound-rises-primark-owner-falls-2018-01-18) moving further away from its all-time closing high of 7,778.64 hit last week.

Continue Reading Below

For this week, the index was on course to fall 1%.

The pound traded at $1.3930, up from $1.3895 late Thursday in New York.

Read:Why one contrarian investor says the British pound could rally to $1.40 in 2018 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-one-contrarian-investor-says-the-british-pound-could-rally-to-140-in-2018-2018-01-17)

What's driving markets: Retail stocks struggled before the release of U.K. government data on retail sales for December, which includes the crucial Christmas shopping season. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect retail sales to have fallen 0.6% month-on-month (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-retail-stocks-could-get-a-boost-if-britons-splashed-out-cash-during-christmas-2018-01-18). That's after November's forecast-beating climb of 1.1%.

Shares of DIY retailer Kingfisher PLC shares (KGF.LN) were pulled down by 2.9% after flooring seller Carpetright PLC (CPR.LN) issued a profit warning, sending its shares tumbling 40%.

Meanwhile, oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-sink-1-head-for-biggest-weekly-loss-since-oct-2018-01-19) were in focus and falling, extending losses after OPEC lifted its 2017 global demand estimate.

What strategists are saying: "It's another bad day for the U.K. high street with more profits warnings, this time from Bonmarche, Carpetright and Dignity. Trading updates from the trio only add to a stream of negative New Year messages from management about poor footfall, cost conscious consumers and growing preference for online versus in-store," said Mike Van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, in a note.

Stock movers: Shares of oil producers BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) fell 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively, as oil prices pulled back, with Brent futures trading below $69 a barrel (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-sink-1-head-for-biggest-weekly-loss-since-oct-2018-01-19).

In the retail group, Marks & Spencer Group (MKS.LN) (MKS.LN) was lower by 0.7% and Next PLC (NXT.LN) dropped 1.1%. Bucking the weaker trend, luxury goods maker Burberry Group PLC (BRBY.LN) (BRBY.LN) was up 0.3%.

Among supermarkets, Tesco PLC (TSCO.LN) fell 0.4%, J Sainsbury PLC shares (SBRY.LN) shed 0.1% and Wm Morrison Supermarkets (MRW.LN) gave up 0.2%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 19, 2018 04:18 ET (09:18 GMT)

Continue Reading Below