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London treads water as US stock markets close for Thanksgiving

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London’s top index was as dull as its cousins in New York on Thursday, despite remaining open while the US indexes closed for Thanksgiving.

The FTSE 100 closed up a meagre 0.02% during the day as a small rise in the pound put pressure on the companies, which sell much of their product in dollars.

By the end of the day, the index had gained just 1.36 points, ending at 7,466.6, its highest close since early September.

Things were happier elsewhere in Europe, where the German Dax index gained a healthy 0.8%, while the Cac 40 in Paris rose by 0.4%.

“European markets have enjoyed a relatively positive day, as the Thanksgiving celebrations brought lower volumes and volatility,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“The latest German Ifo business climate survey released in the morning provided grounds for optimism just a day after the release of PMI surveys that eased fears of a sharp recession in the region.”

He said the survey had shown that traders were more positive about the future, despite being downbeat about the present.

On energy markets, the price of Brent crude oil remained fairly unchanged, down just 0.4% to 85.06 dollars.

On currency markets, the pound rose by around 0.6% pushing it to 1.21 dollars. Against the euro it was up 0.5% to 1.16.

In company news, shares in fashion brand Dr Martens plunged after the bootmaker gave investors a warning over its profit margins for the full financial year.

It said that consumer demand had weakened as its sales were slower than anticipated over the latest quarter.

Shares in Dr Martens were down 22.7%.

In better news, holiday firm Jet2 told investors that it swung to a first-half profit as demand for summer holidays ramped up after pandemic restrictions lifted.

It said that its full-year earnings will be better than expected despite the group facing substantial cost pressures like fuel and staff wages.

Shares in Jet2 were up 2.9%.

B&Q owner Kingfisher said that its revenues had been given a boost as more people sought to improve energy efficiency in their homes, with sales of loft insulation roll doubling.

The DIY giant told investors it was managing cost inflation effectively, but that its profits could be lower than previously expected.

Nonetheless, Kingfisher sunk towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 as its shares dipped by 1.6%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Intertek Group, up 176p to 4,036p, United Utilities Group, up 34p to 1,086p, Rolls-Royce Holdings, up 2.64p to 91.05p, Airtel Africa, up 3.3p to 120.6p, and Segro, up 21.1p to 837.2p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Imperial Brands, down 85p to 2,100p, British Land, down 9p to 406p, Vodafone, down 1.99p to 92.67p, London Stock Exchange Group, down 152p to 8.080p, and RS Group, down 17.5p to 958p.

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