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FTSE 100 Inches Up on StanChart Boost; Set for Marginal Weekly Loss

  • Standard Chartered rises on share buyback, profit rise
  • British consumer confidence falls in February
  • FTSE 100 up 0.1%, FTSE 250 off 0.3%

Feb 23 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 edged higher on Friday, propped by financial stocks following Standard Chartered's results, although the index was on course for a marginal weekly loss as markets digested a raft of mixed earnings updates.

The FTSE 100 index edged up 0.1%, as of 0911 GMT.

Standard Chartered PLC jumped 8% to the top of the FTSE 100 after the Asia-focused bank rewarded shareholders with dividends and a fresh $1 billion buyback as annual profit rose 18%.

"Standard Chartered's results benefited from lower impairments like many of its peers," Matt Britzman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said in a note.

The bank's outlook for 2024 is a smidge lower than analysts had priced in but the medium-term guidance up to 2026 shows promising signs, Britzman added.

The stock powered a 1.2% rise in British lenders.

Gains on the index were limited by a 2.2% fall in advertising group WPP, which extended losses for a third consecutive session and hit a month low.

The blue-chip index is still on course for a small weekly loss on the back of a mixed bag of earnings in the region, with receding bets on early interest rate cuts from global central banks also denting market optimism baked in towards the end of last year.

Money markets are now largely pricing in the first rate cut from the Bank of England in August, compared with June for the U.S. Federal Reserve. 

The mid-cap FTSE 250 lost 0.3%, led by a 4% drop in the UK's Domino's Pizza Group as Barclays downgraded the stock to "equal weight" from "overweight".

Meanwhile, British consumer sentiment fell for the first time in four months in February as households took a gloomier view of their recent personal finances and the broader economic outlook, according to a survey.

Reporting by Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala and Eileen Soreng

Source: Reuters

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