FTSE flat ahead of US election

The blue chip index was flat at 6,812 as investors await the impending US election result, following a surge on Monday as hopes of a Hillary Clinton victory across the pond increased.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was flat at $44.88, while Brent crude oil nudged higher to $46.21 per barrel, respectively.

Gold gained 0.4% to $1,283 per ounce and copper cheapened 0.6% to $5,048 per tonne.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed UK retail sales rose by 1.7% on a like-for-like basis from October 2015.

In the UK, production output declined by 0.5% between July and September. The largest downward pressure was from manufacturing, although this was partially offset by more mining and quarrying activity, according to the Office for National Statistics.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Investors were sweetened by conglomerate Associated British Foods (ABF), which gained 5% to £26.16 on better-than-expected full year results. Besides a boost from the weak pound, the results reflected selling space expansion at Primark, increased margins in ABF’s food businesses as well as ‘fundamental structural changes’ at AB Sugar.

Poor half year results at Marks & Spencer (MKS) caused the stock to nudge 1.9% lower to 342p due to a slump in pre-tax profits as like-for-like clothing and home sales declined by 2.9%. CEO Steve Rowe announced a new strategy to close 60 UK clothing stores, reducing the firm’s reliance on its underperforming fashion business. It said it will also close wholly-owned stores in ten loss-making overseas markets.

Switzerland-listed recruitment bellwether Adecco provided small gains for UK recruiter PageGroup (PAGE). Revenue was up 3% excluding contributions from acquisitions and operating margin was down marginally at 5.5%, which was driven by tougher conditions in temporary recruitment.

Shares in Imperial Brands (IMB) retreated 2.4% to £37.11 after chief executive Alison Cooper said the tobacco giant’s 2017 profit will be weighted towards the second half of the year. This was partly due to investment in lower pricing which will total £200m, the majority of which will be delivered in the six months to 31 March 2017.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Insurance services provider Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) fell 3.7% as its performance continued to be impacted by volatile exchange rates. Investors were disappointed that trading is anticipated to remain challenging for the rest of the year.

Scandal-hit Sports Direct (SPD) was hit by claims from six MPs from the Business Skills Committee that an attempt was made to record their private discussion following a surprise visit to the Shirebrook warehouse. The stock declined 3.3% to 314.4p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Avocet Mining (AVM) soared 26% after a judge ordered the lifting of the seizure of a gold shipment on 7 October 2016.

Investors were worried after Grafenia’s (GRA) warning that if transactional print revenues continue to underperform, full year results were likely to be significantly below expectations. The stock slumped 15.4% to 7.4p.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com