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Home>U.K. stocks in holding pattern ahead of construction update

U.K. stocks in holding pattern ahead of construction update

U.K. stocks in holding pattern ahead of construction update

10/03/2017

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

Pound flat after Monday's tumble

U.K. stocks were struggling for direction on Tuesday, as traders waited for the latest update on the British construction sector, a day after manufacturing data disappointed and sent the pound sharply lower.

The FTSE 100 index was marginally lower at 7,436.67, but was swinging between small gains and losses. A loss on Tuesday would break a four-session win streak for the London benchmark, after it closed Monday at the highest level since Aug. 9 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-travel-stocks-lead-ftse-100-to-3-week-higher-after-monarch-collapse-2017-10-02).

Economic news: The U.K. construction purchasing managers' index for September is forecast to come in at 50.9, from 51.1 in August, according to FactSet. The PMI report is scheduled for release at 9:30 a.m. London Time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

"Worryingly, [the August] figure is already low enough that another drop would see the construction sector teetering on the edge of contraction -- no wonder the FTSE and pound are feeling tentative," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in a note.

On Monday, a report showed the manufacturing PMI fell more than expected (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/growth-in-uk-manufacturing-slows-in-september-2017-10-02) in September, although the sector still remained in expansion territory. The pound stumbled 0.9% after the data on Monday, and was largely flat on Tuesday at around $1.3275.

Stock movers: Shares of Ferguson PLC (FERG.LN) posted the biggest gain on Tuesday, rising 3.7%. The distributor of plumbing and heating products, formerly known as Wolseley, said it is initiating a GBP500 million share-buyback program, after profit jumped (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ferguson-profit-up-declares-500-mln-buyback-2017-10-03) in the fiscal year to July 31.

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