The FTSE 350 perked up Friday, after a declining week. The UK government’s plan to freeze energy bills could soften the recession towards which we appear to be unavoidably heading. It led Credit Suisse to lift its GDP forecast, and others might follow.
FTSE 350 respite
The FTSE 100 ended Friday at 7,351 points, up 1% on the week. The FTSE 250, meanwhile, gained 1.8% to reach 19,188 points. The combined effect led to a 1% rise for the FTSE 350, which finished the week on 4,077 points.
Interest rates are likely to rise again, though at least not for now. The latest decision had been planned for this week. But it’s been delayed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The Monetary Policy Committee’s decision will now be revealed on 22 September.
Oil price falling
Shares in Shell and BP have both been dipping, as oil prices continued to decline from the summer’s peak. But an uptick on Friday took Brent Crude back up to $92.84 per barrel, giving both oil stocks a bit of support.
Further strength Monday could boost the sector further. But oil prices are still way down from levels above $120 seen in June.
Monday is final dividend payment day for BT Group shareholders, who should see the cash dropping into their accounts. Similarly, interim dividends should be arriving for investors in Lloyds Banking Group, AstraZeneca, Rentokil Initial, Phoenix Group, and Games Workshop.
If everyone rushes to reinvest their cash in new shares, perhaps it might even give the FTSE 350 a bit of extra lift.
The latest GDP figures are due Monday, along with other economic updates. These would normally have fed into Thursday’s planned interest rates decision. That’s been shelved, but economic news could still drive stock market sentiment as we start the week.
Gold prices might give us a clue of what the market is thinking. The precious metal had a flat week last week, ending at $1,718 per ounce. But it has been dipping over the past month.
Darktrace rated a buy
On Friday, Berenberg Bank reissued a buy recommendation on cybersecurity specialist Darktrace. The broker’s 600p price target is well ahead of its 379p close, so we’ll have to see if that has any effect on Monday.
Last week’s buy stance from Deutsche Bank on Barratt Developments goes against falling share prices in the sector. The price target is 835p, with the shares currently at 422p. UBS Group is also bullish.