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UK’s FTSE indexes end flat ahead of data-packed week; Marshalls sinks


UK’s FTSE indexes end flat ahead of data-packed week; Marshalls sinks By Reuters

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Published Mar 18, 2024 08:36
Updated Mar 18, 2024 17:22

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

By Shristi Achar A, Pranav Kashyap and Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) -Britain’s FTSE indexes ended flat on Monday as investors stayed cautious ahead of week packed with economic data and a central bank policy decision, while roofing supplier Marshalls notched its worst day in 10 months on issuing a grim outlook.

The resource-heavy blue-chip FTSE 100 and the more domestically-focused mid-cap FTSE 250 both ended 0.1% lower.

In focus for investors this week are two domestic inflation prints for February, due on Wednesday, and the Bank of England’s monetary policy decision on Thursday, when economists widely expect no change to interest rates. Global attention will also be on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate verdict on Wednesday.

“Investors want to find out what the attitude is among central bankers about when interest rate cuts will come, and any hint of more hawkish views given the hotter inflation could lead to a bit of volatility later this week,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HRGV).

UK stocks have disappointed at the start of the year, with the main indexes down slightly, as fears of the domestic economy stagnating loom against the backdrop of uncertainty around the timing of interest rate cuts.

On the day, landscaping and roofing products supplier Marshalls sank 8.5% after flagging lower revenue in 2024 due to a slower-than-expected recovery in the construction market, after it reported a slump in its annual profit.

The broader construction and materials sector slid 1.4%.

Bucking the broader trend, Currys (LON:CURY), which has resisted bid interest from two suitors, gained 6.0% after the electricals retailer edged up its profit outlook on recent stronger-than-expected sales.

Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RKT) gained 2.0% and also boosted the benchmark index after slumping around 14% on Friday.

Among other stocks, Bytes Technology (LON:BYIT) dropped 7.5% after the IT software services provider appointed an independent committee to investigate the former CEO’s resignation and undisclosed share transactions.

Haleon (LON:HLN) fell 2.3% after U.S. drugmaker and top shareholder Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) said it would reduce its stake in the toothpaste maker to about 24%.

UK’s FTSE indexes end flat ahead of data-packed week; Marshalls sinks

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