Thursday market close: FTSE nudges up as selling off continues

Market trader in front of his screens. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Market trader in front of his screens. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Britain’s benchmark share index nudged higher as bargain-hunters made their approach.

The FTSE 100 closed up 14.33 points at 7,386.94 as other Continental peers made gains.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said European stock markets were higher “as the bargain hunters move in”.

He said: “For now the selling pressure has cooled, but traders are still cautious after the market endured several days of selling in a row.

“One positive day won’t erase the memory of the declines that we saw recently. As we approach the end of the year, we could see further selling pressure as investors look to square up their position before the year ends.”

In UK stocks, Royal Mail closed up 6.5p at 395.5p despite reporting that first-half profits dropped by nearly a third, although there was a boost from the £106 million tax credit for closing its pension plan.

It also warned that efforts to reach a deal with unions over workers’ pay and pensions could hit its financial performance.

The FTSE 250 firm said it was a “priority” to reach an agreement with the CWU - the communications union - with the mediation process likely to run until Christmas or beyond.

Madden said the firm’s share price “has been in decline since June 2016, and if the negative move continues it could retest the 370p region”.

Shares in British Land pushed higher after the firm swung to a half-year profit.

The real estate group recorded a pre-tax profit of £238m for the six months ending in September, up from a £411m loss over the same period last year. Its shares closed up 22p at 618.5p.

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