ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Monday 20 March 2017

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London open: Stocks edge lower following Friday’s record close

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London stocks edged lower in early trade on Monday after closing at a record high again at the end of last week, as investors sifted through some corporate news and digested developments at the G20 meeting.

At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 03% to 7,403.07, while sterling was up 0.2% to $1.2419 and flat at €1.1534.

Spreadex‘s Connor Campbell said: “The pound is caught between last week’s dovish hike from the Fed, the Bank of England’s non-unanimous rate vote, where Kristen Forbes signalled that she believes an increase is in order, and Tuesday’s inflation figure, which is set to cross the BoE’s long held 2.0% target.

“Yet this hawkish haze hasn’t helped sterling out as much against the euro as it has against the greenback, with the pound still having a way to go before it reclaims its end of February/start of March losses.”

The latest survey from Rightmove showed house prices in England and Wales rose 1.3% on the month in March to £310,108, marking the biggest increase since 2007. On the year, however, growth was 2.3%, slowing down significantly from 7.6% in March 2016.

In terms of regions, the strongest performance was seen in the Midlands, with East and West Midlands prices at record highs.

Prices in the East Midlands were up 2.1% on the month and 5.7% on the year, surpassing £200,000 for the first time. Prices in the West Midlands were also up 2.1% on a monthly basis, and 4.2% on the year.

Market participants were also mulling over the latest G20 meeting, during which finance ministers from the world’s biggest economies dropped an anti-protectionist commitment following opposition from the US.

In corporate news, Vodafone nudged lower after agreeing terms of a $23bn merger between its Indian business and Idea Cellular, which is part of the Aditya Birla Group.

Facilities manager Carillion ticked down just a touch after saying it has won a £90m contract from the UK Defence Infrastructure Organisation to design and build a communications centre in Cyprus.

LondonMetric Property advanced after saying it has bought two last mile distribution warehouses in Leeds for £12m, reflecting a blended net initial yield of 6% and a reversionary yield of 6.5%.

Hansteen Holdings was on the front foot after it agreed to dispose of its German and Dutch portfolios for €1.28bn to entities owned by funds advised by affiliates of The Blackstone Group and M7 Real Estate. In addition, the company posted a dip on 2016 pre-tax profit but lifted its dividend.

Pub operator Marston’s edged higher as it agreed a new bank facility to replace the £257.5m existing facility that was due to expire in November 2018.

Kaz Minerals was also in the black after saying it has received $166m in VAT refunds so far this year as the tax paid during the construction of the Bozshakol and Aktogay projects has started to be returned.

G4S was under pressure following a downgrade by HSBC, while ASOS was hit by a downgrade from Goldman Sachs.

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