TUESDAY’S MARKET CLOSE: Shares unmoved by Carney speech

Top shares inched lower today as energy stocks weakened and investors bet on whether Scotland will vote to leave the United Kingdom.

Stocks showed little reaction to comments from the Bank of England governor. Picture: PA
Stocks showed little reaction to comments from the Bank of England governor. Picture: PA

Stocks showed little reaction to comments from Bank of England governor Mark Carney suggesting the central bank might start to raise interest rates next spring.

The FTSE 100 Index, which struggled on Monday following big losses for firms with Scottish links, was 5.8 points lower at 6,829, while the pound was just above $1.60 against the dollar after big losses on Monday took it to a ten-month low. The pound was down against the euro, at €1.25.

Some investors were stepping aside pending the outcome of the referendum.

Mark Ward, the head of trading at Sanlam Securities, said: “We are actually not doing much until the Scotland vote. We are fairly cautious,” and Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, added caution was “keeping the investors on the sidelines playing a watching brief”.

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But Mike McCudden, the head of derivatives at Interactive Investor, saw room for a rebound.

“This could actually present a buying opportunity… the fall in the value of sterling has made UK stocks considerably more attractive, which might provide underlying support.”

Supermarket chain Morrisons set the pace in the top flight after analysts at Citi placed a buy note on the stock amid hopes that the chain will preserve its dividend at half-year results on Thursday.

Morrisons shares were 3 per cent higher, up 5.3p to 175.3p, while rival Sainsbury’s was 1.7p stronger at 293.3p.

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The fallers’ board was dominated by energy-based stocks as Royal Dutch Shell fell 36p to 2504.5p, BP dropped 1.9p to 466.9p and BG Group eased 5.5p to 1202.5p. Perth-based utility SSE was 21p cheaper at 1,456p.