The UK blue-chip index unsettled by inflation concerns, as US investors remain cautious
- FTSE 100 down 16 points
- Housebuilders suffer from profit taking
- Smith & Nephew lifted by broker upgrade
2.18pm: Crude rise helps oil companies
Leading shares are off their worst levels, with oil companies providing some support.
BP PLC (LON:BP.) is 0.24% better at 323.97p while Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA) has risen 0.74% to 1394p
Brent crude has moved 0.54% higher to $72.61 a barrel, while the US benchmark WTI is up 0.41% at $70.34.
Oil has been helped by signs of increased demand as global economies recover from the pandemic.
And the prospect of oil from Iran coming back onto the market and boosting supply seems to have receded.
Sophie Griffiths at Oanda said: “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken soothed concerns of Iranian oil flooding back into the market. He said that even if the Iran nuclear deal were revived, hundreds of US sanctions would remain.
“The ducks have lined up nicely for the oil market right now. With no OPEC meeting due until early July, oil could well target USD72.00 in the coming weeks.”
So after touching a low of 7046, the FTSE 100 is now down just 16.28 points or 0.23% at 7078.81.
12.27pm: US markets set to drift
Wall Street is on track for an uninspiring open as investors play it cool ahead of this week’s latest inflation figures.
Trading is becoming a little thinner as the summer approaches, which is not helping matters.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is expected to open down 17 points or a miniscule 0.05%. The S&P 500 is forecast to edge up 0.09% while the Nasdaq Composite is set for a 0.29% rise.
After the bell there could be some excitement, when one of the most (in)famous meme stocks, () is due to report is quarterly figures.
GameStop shares have jumped 80% in the past month, and they are trading nearly 1% higher in pre-market.
The stock was the most traded on the US market during a January frenzy that was driven by investors on ‘s wallstreetbets trading forum.
According to Reuters, analysts are forecasting revenue of $1.16bln for the quarter ending in April, up 14% from the year before when the pandemic hit sales of brick and mortar stores.
A loss of 84 cents a share is on the cards.
Back in the UK the FTSE 100 remains in the red, down 39.84 points or 0.56% at 7055.25.
11.44am: Bank’s Haldane warns on pricing pressures
Leading shares continue to decline, with the FTSE 100 falling 42.69 points or 0.6% to 7052.4.
Comments from the ‘s chief economist Andy Haldane are not helping to cool the concerns about rising inflation, and any consequent moves by central banks to rein in their supportive measures.
Haldane, who leaves the Bank this month, warned on Tuesday the UK housing market was “on fire.”
This morning he told LBC radio that there were “some pretty punchy pressures on prices” and suggested the Bank could act at some point.
He said: “We could start tightening the tap on that [the Bank’s stimulus programme], slowing down the amount of money we’re printing, and ultimately perhaps even starting to turn that around.”
The fall in the leading index would have been even worse if not for the rise in travel shares.
PLC () continues to climb. It is now biggest riser, up 3.83% to 205.6p.
11.15am: Bitcoin bounces
Bitcoin prices have recovered some recent lost ground after El Salvador backed plans by president Nayib Bukele to make the cryptocurrency legal tender in the Central American nation.
Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advisory firm deVere Group, said: “Where El Salvador has led, we can expect other developing countries to follow.
“This is because low-income countries have long suffered because their currencies are weak and extremely vulnerable to market changes and that triggers rampant inflation…
“By adopting a сryptocurrency as legal tender these countries then immediately have a currency that isn’t influenced by…