18th April 2019 at 5:12 pm
UK and European stocks were mixed on the final day of a shortened trading week following weak euro zone data. PMI data for the euro zone came in below forecasts stoking concerns of a slowdown in the region. But investors cheered results from consumer goods giant Unilever and energy management firm Schneider Electric.
US stocks were mixed as losses in the health-care sector continued for a third straight day but earnings for companies such as Honeywell were better-than-expected.
Sterling declined against the dollar despite the UK posting strong retail sales figures for March.
Oil prices rose slightly boosted by a decline in US inventories, ongoing supply cuts from OPEC and its allies, and US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.
Gold was relatively flat, near a 4-month low touched early in the session after data showing euro zone businesses were under pressure brought concerns about global growth back to the fore.
In company news, Unilever gained as it reported stronger-than-expected growth for the first quarter of the year, driven by emerging markets and with an encouraging balance between increases in volume and price.
Building materials group CRH was on the rise ahead of a trading update next Tuesday, while equipment rental firm Ashtead rallied following well-received results from US peer United Rentals, whose first-quarter earnings per share came in around 10% ahead of consensus overnight.
Rentokil was in the green as it reported a 4% rise in first-quarter organic revenue, driven by its pest control business and acquisitions and said full-year results should be in line with market expectations.
On the downside, BAE Systems was in the red as it went ex-dividend along with Reckitt Benckiser.
At the close
FTSE 100 7,459 (-0.15%)
FTSE 250 19,835 (-0.11%)
DAX 12,222 +0.57%
Dow Jones 26,541 +0.35%
S&P 500 2,900 (-0.01%)
NASDAQ 7,980 (-0.20%)
UK 10-YR YIELD 1.20
Gold $1,273 (-0.04%)
Brent $71.70 +0.11%
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