After yesterday’s spectacular session for UK stocks, it was refreshing to see further gains on Thursday. The FTSE 100 nudged up 0.6% to 7,632 thanks to strength among miners, and investors continue to shop for bargains among the housebuilders. However, market sentiment can turn quickly and investors have a habit of finding things to worry about.
Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, said: “The corporate reporting season went into overdrive with updates from a multitude of players large and small across the UK, mainland Europe and the US. So far, there have been mixed messages, particularly from the tech sector, and pre-market indicative prices suggest the US market will open in the red later today.
“TSMC reported its first decline in profit in four years as demand for consumer electronics weakened. You can see the effects in one of the big European names as shares in home appliances giant Electrolux sank 14% after swinging to a second quarter loss thanks to a shift in customer habits.
“High interest rates combined with persistent inflation has forced many consumers to pay closer attention to their finances and that means looking for cheaper items when they upgrade or replace appliances in the home. Concerns about the property market also have a direct read-across to Electrolux as a reduction in construction activity in new-build homes means lower demand for built-in kitchens.
“Cushions-to-picture frames seller Dunelm has been doing okay, but management is right to flag ongoing uncertainty with regards to the consumer outlook. Its focus on good value for money has paid off in the cost-of-living crisis but no company can be complacent when inflation remains significantly above the Bank of England’s 2% target and the sharp rise in interest rates presents ongoing challenges to the consumer.”