'Black Friday' sales bonanza no boost for London stock market

Roland JACKSON
 

London's stock market dipped on Friday, bucking an upwards trend elsewhere, as 'Black Friday' price-slashing wooed customers but was expected to hurt the bottom line of Britain's biggest retailers.

So-called Black Friday, the now-traditional day of steep discounts in the run-up to Christmas, failed to boost share prices of retailers partly owing to fierce competition from online giants like Amazon, dealers said.

The mood in London soured also on news that British consumer confidence, tracked by pollster YouGov (LSE: YOU.L - news) and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, has slumped to the lowest level since just after last year's shock Brexit referendum.

"With (Other OTC: WWTH - news) sales rising at the expense of margins, there is a strong possibility that we will see retailers' profitability suffer despite rising revenues," Joshua Mahony, analyst at IG (Frankfurt: A0EARV - news) trading group, said regarding the impact of Black Friday.

"Unfortunately, while billions will be spent in the UK today, we have seen UK consumer confidence hit the lowest level since the EU referendum, paving the way for what could be a disappointing holiday season for retailers," he added.

London's FTSE index ended the day down 0.1 percent.

Shares (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) in clothing retailer Next (Frankfurt: 779551 - news) dropped 1.8 percent while those in Britain's biggest retailer, supermarket giant Tesco (Frankfurt: 852647 - news) shed 0.8 percent.

Industry forecasts suggest UK shoppers will spend some £7.8 billion ($10.3 billion, 8.8 billion euros) over the four-day period from Black Friday to so-called Cyber Monday -- when online retailers deliver even more steep discounts.

"Black Friday (data) will be analysed next week for evidence the consumer is alive and well," David Hussey, equities analyst at Manulife Asset Management, told AFP.

In the eurozone meanwhile, the Frankfurt and Paris stock markets gained ground, taking their cue from an Asian recovery.

Traders there had no leads from Wall Street, which was shut on Thursday for the Thanksgiving public holiday.

The Dow gained 0.1 percent in late morning trading on Friday in a short session, but many US investors were expected to remain absent until after the weekend.

"The S&P 500 and NASDAQ (Frankfurt: 813516 - news) 100 has registered fresh record highs as Macy?s, Kohl?s and Amazon are in high demand as the Black Friday fever sets in. The major shopping day in the US has given a boost to the retail sector," said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

Shares in online shopping giant Amazon and retailer Kohl's climbed nearly 2.0 percent, while upscale department store Macy's shot up 3.6 percent.

- Key figures around 1630 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,409.64 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 13,059.84 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,390.46 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,582.30

New York - DOW: UP 0.3 percent at 23,588.96

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,550.85 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 29,866.32 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,353.82 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1940 from $1.1851 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3349 from $1.3309

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.56 yen from 111.22 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN five cents at $63.50 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 76 cents at $58.78

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