FTSE Indexes were lower on Thursday as traders reacted to signals from the U.S. Fed minutes on its next rate increase. The FTSE 100 was down -112.45 points or -1.82 percent to 6,053.35. The FTSE 250 was also lower at 16,730.11 for a loss of -151.13 points or -0.90 percent.
Source: Google Finance.
Stocks traded lower overall in Europe as investors speculated over a possible rate increase by the Federal Reserve in June. While the Fed is reportedly taking a hawkish approach to its monetary policy strategy, many Fed officials have indicated they are willing to raise the federal funds rate again in June if economic indicators show further improvement in the weeks ahead. Currency fears were the main factor for the lower valuations as a rate increase would further increase the strength of the U.S. dollar adversely weakening other currencies.
In the U.K. the market received the retail sales report which showed retail sales improvement for April. Retail sales were higher by 4.2 percent from the comparable month. At 4.2 percent retail sales were above the consensus of 2.5 percent and also above the previous month’s report of 3 percent.
For the day actively traded stocks included 3i which increased its dividend after seeing a gain in its net asset value. Bank stocks were also higher for the day with the added prospect of increased rates. Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Standard Chartered led gains in the banking sector.
On Thursday, prices for metals and oil were lower, weighing on both the mining and energy sectors. Among the stocks falling for the day included Fresnillo, Anglo American, Glencore, Royal Dutch Shell, BHP Billiton and Tullow Oil.
Data from IFA magazine reported the following stocks leading gains and losses in the U.K. on Thursday.
3i Group (III) 2.50 percent
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 1.39 percent
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 1.08 percent
Admiral Group (ADM) 0.91 percent
ITV (ITV) 0.88 percent
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 0.71 percent
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 0.54 percent
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 0.36 percent
Shire Plc (SHP) 0.34 percent
Barclays (BARC) 0.15 percent
Fresnillo (FRES) -7.08 percent
Royal Dutch Shell ‘A’ (RDSA) -4.90 percent
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) -4.52 percent
Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ (RDSB) -4.45 percent
Anglo American (AAL) -4.42 percent
Royal Mail (RMG) -3.90 percent
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) -3.77 percent
Glencore (GLEN) -3.65 percent
Bunzl (BNZL) -3.51 percent
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) -3.37 percent
In other European markets, France’s CAC 40 was down -36.76 points or -0.85 percent to 4,282.54. The Stoxx Europe 600 was down at 333.91 for a loss of -3.67 points or -1.09 percent. Germany’s DAX was lower at 9,795.89 for a loss of -147.34 points or -1.48 percent. The Europe Dow was down at 1,505.83 for a loss of -30.61 points or -1.99 percent.
In Asia, stocks traded mostly lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down -132.08 points or -0.67 percent to 19,694.33. In India, the S&P BSE Sensex was down -304.89 points or -1.19 percent to 25,399.72 and the NSE Nifty was lower at 7,783.40 for a loss of -86.75 points or -1.10 percent. In China, the Shanghai Composite was lower at 2,806.91 for a loss of -0.61 points or -0.02 percent. In Japan, the Nikkei was higher at 16,646.66 for a gain of 1.97 points or 0.01 percent. As a broad market measure, the Asia Dow was lower at 2,564.14 for a loss of -29.77 points or -1.15 percent.
In the U.S., stocks traded mostly lower on Thursday. At mid-afternoon in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down at 17,456.46 for a loss of -70.16 points or -0.40 percent. The S&P 500 Index was lower at 2,041.10 for a loss of -6.53 or -0.3 percent. The Nasdaq Composite was lower at 4,714.13 for a loss of -24.99 points or -0.53 percent.