FTSE 100 starts November on front foot; central bank decisions in focus

By Khushi Singh and Siddarth S

(Reuters) -Britain’s FTSE 100 started November on a positive footing, supported by retailer stocks, with Next shares leading gains on an upbeat profit outlook, while investors braced for a slew of central bank policy decisions.

The internationally-focused FTSE 100 ended 0.3% higher. The mid-cap FTSE 250 advanced 0.6%, logging its fourth consecutive day of gains.

Next Plc shares climbed 3.6% to the top of the FTSE 100 after the clothing retailer raised its annual profit outlook for the fourth time in six months.

The broader retailers index rose 1.6%.

Investors will be scrutinising the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision later in the day and the Bank of England’s(BoE) monetary policy meeting on Thursday. Both central banks are widely expected to keep interest rates steady.

“I don’t think anybody expects any change in the BoE’s interest rates tomorrow, but they have got to be very careful with their messaging because the economy isn’t particularly strong,” said David Morrison, senior market analyst at Trade Nation.

On the data front, British house prices unexpectedly rose by almost 1% last month, mortgage lender Nationwide said, while UK’s factories suffered a worse October than previously thought, according to a survey.

Automobiles and parts index fell 2.0% dragged down by a nearly 9% slump in Aston Martin shares after the luxury carmaker lowered its 2023 volume outlook.

GSK shares ended 2.4% down, after gaining earlier in the session, as the drugmaker raised its full-year profit and sales forecasts for a second time.

“(GSK)shares gave up their early gains and slipped to the bottom of the FTSE 100 with some blaming underperformance from its Shingrix vaccine,” Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK said in note.

(Reporting by Khushi Singh and Siddarth S in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman and Christina Fincher)