London Close: FTSE 100 struggles to rebound amid sell-off

After a dismal week for the FTSE 100, and a lacklustre trading session on Friday, the index proved insufficient to entice bargain-hunters and propel the blue-chip index higher.

The strength of the pound served as a hindrance, preventing the FTSE 100 from following its European counterparts. Although a cooler-than-expected US jobs report provided a slight boost to stocks, the FTSE 100 ultimately closed with tepid gains.

Closing at 7,256.94 points, the FTSE 100 index dipped 23.56 points or 0.3%. Conversely, the FTSE 250 managed to close higher, up 87.51 points or 0.5% at 18,003.97, while the AIM All-Share experienced a modest gain of 0.85 points or 0.1%, ending at 741.71.

For the week, the FTSE 100 saw a decline of 3.7%, with the FTSE 250 shed 2.2% and the AIM All-Share falling by 1.6%.

London’s worst-performing blue-chip companies included pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which experienced a 2.1% loss. Severn Trent and United Utilities also struggled, with losses of 2.2% and 1.7% respectively. Interestingly, utility shares outperformed during Thursday’s sell-off. AstraZeneca faced a particularly challenging week, with a decline of approximately 10% attributed in part to disappointing trial data and the market turbulence observed on Thursday.

Coca-Cola HBC displayed resilience, surging by 5.1%. Following a stronger-than-anticipated performance in the first half of the year, the beverage bottler upgraded its earnings expectations for the full year. Coca-Cola HBC now predicts organic earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) growth of between 9% and 12% for 2023. Previously, the company had expected EBIT growth of up to 3% or a decline of up to 3%.

OSB Group sank by 29%. The company revealed that it anticipates a hit of up to £180 million in its first-half results due to customers refinancing their mortgages at more favourable rates at a faster pace than expected.

YouGov managed to close up by 2.8%. The research and data analytics group successfully raised £51.2 million through a placing, which will be utilised for the acquisition of GfK’s consumer panel business. GfK’s consumer panel business specialises in household purchase data and operates panels across 16 European countries, encompassing over 100,000 households. YouGov’s €315 million deal not only broadens its offering in the fast-moving consumer goods sector but also enhances its services for clients in the United States.