FTSE 100 Higher as Primark hit by High Street Weakness

December 7, Friday: Stocks listed in London experienced a relief rally to close out a week of tumult, led by U.S and Asian indices as the FTSE 100 closed +1.10% with energy and mining stocks in the green. The FTSE 100 remains 2.90% lower for the week and it is hard to envisage a change of sentiment at even these depressed levels given Brexit, trade worries and the inversion of the US yield curve continue to curtail any enthusiasm investors may have for global equity markets.

Associated British Foods(-4.59%) slipped as it chalked up negative LFL sales to a fall in shopper numbers and unseasonably warm weather at its Primark fashion chain in November. Despite a disappointing first half, management remain confident of increasing Primark’s profit in FY2019 by “careful inventory management and improved margins” and achieving full year expectations.

UK house prices rose at their slowest pace in six years in the three months to November according to a report issued by mortgage lender Halifax. Annual house growth slowed sharply to 0.3% in the three months to November from 1.5% in the three months to October. House prices fell by 1.3% on the month in November, the third decline in the last four months, and the largest decline since April. Despite the gloomy news, housebuilders traded higher intraday.

At the close European equities were mixed, with the FTSE 100 +1.10%, the CAC 40 +0.68% and the DAX 30 -0.21%.

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