By Patrick Munnelly, Market Analyst, Tickmill
The FTSE 100 fought to eek out a fifth day of consecutive gains, gaining 18 points and finishing at 7843.38 at the close.
After a softer open as crude oil ceded some of yesterday’s gains, which weighed on associated energy names with BP [LON:BP.] giving up just under 0.5% on the day.
FTSE-100 biggest movers
The move in crude was countered by a more upbeat outlook for the housebuilders, as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors confirmed that the the UK housing market continued to remain under pressure in March given current credit conditions. However, they did see conditions improving into year end, leading to an uptick in the sector with Rightmove [LON:RMV] topping the index today notching up a respectable 2.26% gain, with Barratt Developments [LON:BDEV] in the green by 2.38% and Taylor Wimpey [LON:TW.] up 2.03% on the day.
On the Negative side of the ledger Imperial Brands [LON:IMB] had a soggy session, with investors disappointed by the tobacco group announcing a decline in first half revenues on a 12 month comparison shares slid 1.14% on the news.
UK economy flatlining
On the fundamental front, the Office of National Statistics reported that the UK economy failed to find its feet during February, flatlining growth missing the consensus of 0.3%, however, revisions higher to January’s data helped ease the disappointment. In commentary this afternoon Bank of England Chief Economist stated that bank staff continue to expect sub par growth in Q1 of this year. However, the pick up in PMI’s is a positive, suggesting potential for modest growth for output and employment ahead.