FTSE 100 dips again as cautious traders digest economic data

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ondon’s top index continued to retreat as traders were in two minds about the results of several economic surveys across Europe and the US on Tuesday.

The UK’s PMI index flash results showed a better-than-expected reading for January, according to data released during the morning.

Similar figures for the eurozone and the US did little to boost positivity among traders.

By the end of the day the FTSE 100 had dropped by 27.31 points, or 0.35%, to 7,757.36p.

“Equities find themselves in the red once again, as investors struggle to gauge whether today’s set of mixed PMI surveys provide grounds for optimism or pessimism,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG.

Eurozone services brought the one notable area of outperformance, as the sector unexpectedly rose back into expansion territory

“Eurozone services brought the one notable area of outperformance, as the sector unexpectedly rose back into expansion territory.

“However, despite improved readings across both manufacturing and services sectors in the US, it is a case of good news is bad news as it eases pressure on the Fed to consider pivoting any time soon.”

It was some of the biggest companies in the FTSE that helped lead the index lower on Tuesday. AstraZeneca and Glencore lead the pack lower.

In the US the S&P 500 was trading down about 0.1% when markets closed in Europe. The Dow Jones was flat at the same time.

In Europe the Dax closed down 0.07% while France’s Cac 40 rose by 0.26% by the close.

Meanwhile, sterling came under pressure after witnessing record state borrowing for December due to the Government’s energy support schemes and rising debt interest payments.

The pound was down 0.45% against the dollar at 1.232 and was 0.4% lower against the euro at 1.133 at the close.

In company news, consumer giant Associated British Foods dipped despite the Primark owner revealing that customer spending was more resilient than expected at the high street fashion chain.

Investor sentiment was however cautious after the group noted profit margins in its grocery business, which makes Twinings tea and Ryvita crackers, were coming under pressure as price increases were outpaced by cost inflation in recent months.

Shares in the group closed 37.5p lower at 1,832p.

Elsewhere, Saga made significant gains after it said it expects annual revenues to jump by up to 50% thanks to a rebound in demand for cruise trips and holidays.

The over-50s group said sales have been boosted by the bounce-back in demand for holidays since the lifting of pandemic restrictions, with the group pencilling in a revenue rise of between 40% and 50% on last year’s £377.2 million. Shares moved 15.6p higher to 168p.

Shares in pub owner Marston’s closed 2.5p higher at 43.36p after the business said sales were up by a quarter compared with last year across five key festive days, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were Rolls-Royce, up 3.2p at 111.4p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 18.6p at 765.2p, IAG, up 3.94p at 166.32p, Entain, up 33p at 1,559.5p, and WPP, up 19.4p at 937.6p.

The biggest fallers of the session were AstraZeneca, down 328p at 10,710p, Tesco, down 5.9p at 243.9p, Glencore, down 12.5p at 565.6p, Associated British Foods, down 37.5p at 1,832p, and GSK, down 23.8p at 1,387p.

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