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Wall Street and FTSE 100 lower as volatile month comes to close

FTSE A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., February 17, 2023.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Wall Street and the FTSE are both set to end February in the red. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The FTSE 100 and European stocks were mixed this Tuesday as investors reassess the global economy's outlook given expectations for higher interest rates.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) dropped 0.74% to 7,876.28 points at close of trading on Tuesday, while the CAC 40 (^FCHI) in Paris was muted at 7,291 points. In Germany, the DAX (^GDAXI) was also flat at 15,383.

Across the pond, US stocks fell Tuesday at the open, rounding out the last day of a volatile month of February on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones (^DJI) lost 0.34% to 32,775 points. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) retreated 0.31% to 3,980 points and the tech-heavy NASDAQ (^IXIC) edged lower by 0.21% to 11,472.

Traders are increasingly worried that central banks around the globe will remain hawkish in order to bring down persistent inflation.

“Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland breathed some life back into the pound yesterday, yet the currency gave back some of these gains on Tuesday as markets took time to digest the information," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

"While the deal may provide a reset for UK/EU relations and be good for the UK economy, reports suggest some in the DUP [Democratic Unionist Party] are not fully satisfied by what’s on the table.”

Inflation figures in Spain and France both rose in February while the latest grocery price survey from Kantar in the UK showed food price inflation hit a record high, up 17.1%.

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Back in London, shares in Ocado (OCDO.L) dropped by 7.81%, the top faller on the FTSE 100 index.

The online supermarket saw its pre-tax loss balloon to nearly £501m last year, nearly three times as high as in 2021.

The FTSE 100 slipped 0.4% to 7,902, pulled down by poorly received results from Ocado and Croda (CRDA.L), and housebuilders falling in response to Travis Perkins’ cautious outlook in its latest figures.

The builders’ merchant said it was preparing for ‘more challenged’ private domestic new-build and repair, maintenance and improvement markets.

Moving in the opposite direction, online electricals retailer AO World (AO.L) was up by 23.38% as it boosted it annual earnings outlook for the third time since November as it said cost-cutting efforts and targeted price rises were paying off.

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Meanwhile, Brent crude (BZ=F) rose and was trading at around $83/barrel as demand surged ahead of the release of fresh economic data from China, the world’s largest oil importer and second largest consumer.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 (^N225) rose 0.1% to 27,445 points, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) in Hong Kong slipped 0.78% to 19,044. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) edged higher, rising 0.66% to 3,279 points.

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