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London markets lower at close amid waning consumer confidence

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London stocks were lower at the end of trading on Wednesday (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
London stocks were lower at the end of trading on Wednesday (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

The FTSE lost ground for the first time in weeks as weak consumer confidence figures from the US stalled trading.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index struck its lowest reading since February last year, adding to growing fears of recession.

London was more robust than other international markets, however, amid increases for oil majors after crude prices nudged higher.

The FTSE 100 ended the day down 11.09 points, or 0.15%, at 7,312.32.

“It has been one of those closely-fought days between buyers and sellers,” commented Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst IG.

He said: “There are still those looking for a bounce for oversold markets, but their task has been complicated by Tuesday’s gloomy confidence data and the pressure that has piled on market.

“It does look like we are still in the first phase of this bear market, where indices are prepared to drop on the slightest bit of bad news, and any rally is short-lived.”

Across the Channel, the impact of this drop was particularly sharply felt.

The German Dax decreased by 1.68% by the end of the session, while the French Cac slid by 0.98%.

In the US, Wall Street was unsurprisingly jittery and edged slightly lower after the bell.

Meanwhile, sterling benefited from caution in the US dollar.

The pound was up 0.1% against the dollar at 1.213 and was up 0.15% against the euro at 1.158.

In company news, discount retail group B&M European Value finished the day higher, despite revealing a another slump in sales.

The group said like-for-like sales tumbled 9.1% across its 705 UK stores in the quarter to June 25 but said this included improvement in the most recent weeks and held firm on financial guidance for the year.

Shares in B&M increased by 6.7p to 386.4p on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in retail, Shoe Zone also had a particularly strong session.

The value shoe-seller told shareholders it expects to post adjusted pre-tax profits of roughly £8.5 million for the financial year after strong improvement in margins and increased cost savings following better supply chain management.

The retailer saw its shares rise 20p to 175p at the end of the session.

Luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin reversed over reports the business is seeking to raise new funds in a bid to safeguard its future and ramp up its investment potential.

Shares in the Lawrence Stroll-backed company fell by 52.2p to 480.2p.

Whitbread also dropped, falling 102p to 2,542p, after confirming chief Alison Brittain will step down next year and be replaced by Domino’s boss, Dominic Paul.

Oil majors finished in positive territory as crude oil had another robust session amid continued optimism about the reopening of China.

Brent crude increased by 0.21% to 118.11 US dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were: Standard Chartered, up 18p at 638.6p; AstraZeneca, up 268p at 11,054p; Severn Trent, up 56p at 2,798p; United Utilities, up 20.5p at 1,046p; and B&M, up 6.7p at 386.4p.

The biggest fallers of the session were: British Land, down 43.9p at 463.3p; Ocado, down 62.4p at 801p; Land Securities, down 48.2p at 688.4p; Pearson, down 42.8p at 745.8p; and IAG, down 5.12p a 111.68p.