FTSE gains on strong UK manufacturing data

Investors were encouraged by UK manufacturing data and pharmaceutical stocks boosted the blue-chip index as Shire (SHP) and Hikma (HIK) bounced back after Trump’s warnings over drug prices in the first hours of his presidency.

Both stocks advanced by approximately 2%, dragging the FTSE 100 0.6% higher to 7,144.

Manufacturing made a strong start to the year as the Purchasing Managers’ Index nudged from a two-and-a-half year higher of 56.1 in December to 55.9 in January. Output growth was at a 32-month high, although input costs soared to a record high, according to Markit’s latest data.

Overall shop prices deflated by 1.7% in January, the increase on the 1.4% decline in December driven by promotional activity by retailers, according the British Retail Consortium.

British house prices rose at their slowest annual rate in more than a year in January, and the prospect of weaker jobs growth and higher inflation is likely to weigh further on their prospects in 2017, according to Nationwide.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil slipped 0.5% higher to $53 and $55.88 per barrel, respectively.

Gold nudged higher to $1,210 per ounce and copper was stable at $5,996 per tonne.

On Wall Street, both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 closed overnight in the red.

Pharmaceutical heavyweights Pfizer and Merck failed to boost the Dow Jones as uncertainty concerning Trump’s leadership continued to unnerve investors.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was 0.5% higher despite shares in video game-maker Nintendo falling to a five-month low as it failed to monetise its debut smartphone game Super Mario Run.

Trading in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was subdued as it closed 0.2% lower, while the SSE Composite slipped 0.3% higher.

Apple overnight reported its highest ever quarterly revenue, as the iPhone 7 helped it return to a growth in sales in the final three months of 2016. It revealed net sales of $78.4bn (£62.3bn), up 3% on the same period a year ago, in its first full quarter since the iPhone 7’s release.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) reported overnight that nearly all flights will go ahead as scheduled despite strike action by cabin crew between 5 and 7 February, with only a few flights expected to be merged.

Workers at BHP Billiton’s (BLT) the world’s biggest copper mine Escondida voted to reject a company wage offer and go on strike, the union reportedly told news agency Reuters overnight.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Broadband supplier TalkTalk (TALK) announced the departure of CEO Dido Harding as the group posted a 5.4% drop in third-quarter on-net revenue.

Tristia Harrison, currently managing director of TalkTalk Consumer, was flagged as a replacement once Harding leaves in May.

Founder Charles Dunstone, currently chairman at Dixons Carphone (DC.), will depart that role on 30 April, and is set to be replaced by former BT (BT.A) CEO Lord Ian Livingston.

Eastern European-focused budget airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) cut its full-year profit guidance due to low prices and disruption from severe weather that hit some of its services.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Investors were shocked after sound insulation technology firm Autins’ (AUTG) CEO suddenly left the business. In a double whammy of bad news, a major customer cut previous orders so it will not meet forecasts this year to September 2017, causing the stock to crash by 29% to 158p. Autins joined AIM in August 2016 at 168p per share, which valued the business then at £37m.

The announcement of an acquisition, fresh funding and refinancing operation by miner Anglo Pacific (APF) failed to reassure the market as it shares were unmoved at 129p.

Mining firm Kennedy Ventures (KENV) raised £1.25m for use by its investee firm Aftan to implement plant enhancements.

AI marketing platform Adgorithms (ADGO) dropped by 24.5% after revealing an adjusted EBITDA loss of approximately $8m.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com