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European markets outperform UK’s FTSE 100 as Asia-focused shares drag

The UK’s top share index lagged behind European peers on Wednesday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The UK’s top share index lagged behind European peers on Wednesday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The UK’s top share index lagged behind European peers on Wednesday, amid new forecasts warning of a slowdown in global economic growth next year as higher interest rates weigh heavy.

London’s FTSE 100 struggled for gains with Asia-focused stocks Prudential, Standard Chartered and HSBC all moving lower.

It was down 31.78 points or 0.43% to close at 7,423.46.

It comes as a group of influential economists said that the impact of tighter monetary policy, weak trade and lower business and consumer confidence is increasingly being felt in the global economy.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projected a mild slowdown in global economic growth next year, before a slight improvement in 2025.

The UK is forecast to have the slowest growth this year and next year, other than Germany, of the world’s G7 advanced economies.

It was a stronger trading session for other European markets, with Germany’s Dax rising by 1.09% and France’s Cac 40 closing 0.24% higher.

In New York, the US’s S&P 500 and Dow Jones were both up about 0.1% by the time European markets closed.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst for IG, said: “Once more it is the FTSE 100 that has been left behind by its peers.

“A mixture of stocks, but containing some heavyweight names like HSBC, have taken the index lower.

“A rallying pound won’t help matters, but the lack of any continued rebound this year speaks to continued disillusion among global investors regarding the prospects for the UK economy.”

The pound was down about 0.2% against the US dollar to 1.2675,and up 0.1% against the euro to 1.156.

The price of Brent crude oil jumped by 0.91% to 82.42 US dollars per barrel.

Halfords financials
Halford’s share price slumped by a fifth after downgrading its profit outlook (Halfords/PA)

In company news, shares in Halfords plunged by about a fifth after the motoring and cycling retailer cautioned over market “softening” in its big-ticket product categories in recent months.

The retailer reported sales growth for the past half year, but investors appeared to be unimpressed by the group downgrading its yearly profit outlook. Its share price slid by 19% at close.

Shares in Pennon also slipped after the South West Water owner said its pre-tax profit slumped by nearly 85% over the first half of the financial year.

It also announced plans to invest £100 million more than previously thought over the next two years into its efforts to reduce water pollution. Its share price closed 2.1% lower.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were JD Sports Fashion, up 8.5p to 157.3p, Fresnillo, up 31.4p to 590.4p, Ocado Group, up 26.6p to 593.6p, Rightmove, up 19p to 546.6p, and Smurfit Kappa Group, up 82p to 2,872p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Entain, down 34.2p to 800.2p, Prudential, down 31.2p to 854.2p, Standard Chartered, down 21.8p to 640.4p, Anglo American, down 65.5p to 2,138.5p, and Compass Group, down 54p to 2,017p.