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FTSE Indices Experience Mixed Start To Week : 100 Rises, 250 Falters

Analyst Team trader
Updated 11 Mar 2024

The FTSE 100 closed marginally higher, adding 0.12% against the pressures exerted by a decline in the mining sector. In contrast, the broader FTSE 250 index faced a minor retreat, down 0.37% to close at 19,530.09. The sombre performance in the market was partly attributed to the downturn in the industrial metals segment, with notable weight coming from iron ore price contractions.

These slips in the indices stood out on a day when the global investment community had its eyes fixed on pivotal economic indicators from the United States. The anticipation hung on consumer price indices and labor market data which bore significant implications for monetary policy directions and interest rate adjustments by central banking authorities. Market predictors are especially watchful following signs of a steep deceleration in Britain's labor market in February. This has led to expectations being set around a 67 basis point reduction in interest rates by the Bank of England over the current year.

In corporate movements, significant attention veered towards Currys PLC as we covered earlier in the day. The UK's leading electronics retailer, which closed a 7.5% down after Elliott Advisors, the activist investor, declared it no longer had plans to put forward a purchase offer for the retail chain. The news marked a stark turn for Currys, adding to the pressures on the FTSE 250 index.

On the flip side, Marks & Spencer experienced a positive lift with its shares jumping 1.88% following an ‘outperform' stamp from RBC Capital Markets, signalling a bullish outlook for the retailer from the investment bank.

What Else To Watch This Week

Across the shore in China, economic figures delivered a mixed blessing. Consumer prices saw an uptick in February, a reflection of increased spending during the Lunar New Year festivities, providing some solace to an economy in dire need of positive triggers. The lift in consumer demand, however, was counterbalanced by persistent deflationary pressures on the producer side as factory prices continued their descent, painting a complex picture of the Chinese economic landscape.

Shifting sights to Japan, there was cause for muted celebration as the nation's revised Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the final quarter of 2020 defied initial apprehensions. Annualized growth was pegged at 0.4%, a stark contrast to the forecasted 0.4% contraction, side-stepping a feared technical recession. This marks a respite for Japan's economy, which has been grappling with the long shadow of the pandemic.

Attention then swings back to the UK’s labour market, which is displaying signs of strain under the weight of economic challenges. February witnessed a marked deceleration in the hiring of permanent staff, while the placement of temporary workers contracted at the swiftest pace since the mid-pandemic period of July 2020. This slowdown signals a potentially worrying trend for the UK's recovery trajectory.

With an air of anticipation, market participants are gearing up for a significant week on the domestic front as the UK prepares to unfurl its latest GDP report. In a backdrop of pivotal economic disclosures, the Financial Policy Committee's quarterly meeting looms, with the spotlight ready to fix on key figures including Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey. These forthcoming events are set to provide critical insights into the UK's economic pulse and could offer directional cues for the FTSE 100 and broader market sentiments.

Investors are braced for a confluence of international factors and domestic economic revelations that might shape market dynamics in unpredictable ways. As the London market adjusts to these developments, cautious optimism is tempered by the prevailing global uncertainties and local economic indicators. The watchful eyes of the Square Mile are set on how these factors will weave into the fabric of the financial narrative in the days to come.

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The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.