FTSE 100 watch: Financials keep Footsie steady as supermarkets dip

on Aug 25, 2017
Updated: Mar 11, 2020

The UK benchmark index has climbed into positive territory in today’s session, staying on track for a gain this week, finding support in finance stocks, led higher by Provident Financial (LON:PFG). Supermarkets, however, are keeping FTSE 100’s gains limited, pressured by concerns over competition from Amazon.

As of 12:36 BST, the FTSE 100 index had added 28.58 points to stand 0.39 percent higher at 7,435.64. Financials are leading the index higher, with sentiment staying upbeat ahead of speeches by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at the central bankers’ symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later today.

Provident Financial meanwhile has received an additional boost after announcing a management overhaul of its troubled lending unit, following a profit warning earlier in the week. Provident’s shares are currently changing hands 20.03 percent higher at 898.00p.

Blue-chip miners have also been in demand today, tracking copper prices higher. BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) has been the sector’s biggest gainer, having added 2.60 percent to 1,453.62p.

At the other end of the spectrum have been supermarkets, with Tesco (LON:TSCO) leading the sector lower, having shed 1.59 percent to 184.15p. Reuters reports that retailers have come under pressure as US e-commerce giant Amazon said that it would cut prices at Whole Foods, the food chain it acquired in June, reigniting fears of aggressive price competition for Europe’s supermarkets.

With the summer earnings season wrapping up, analysts see British companies’ performance as solid.

“Numbers have been pretty good in August, having had a couple of soft months in June and July,” said Ian Williams, Peel Hunt strategist, told Reuters, adding that there were more upgrades than downgrades in analysts’ earnings revisions.

The FTSE 100 was 0.37 percent up at 7,434.59 points as of 13:00 BST on Friday, 25 August 2017.