The FTSE 350 stumbled a bit, as markets try to digest what the Prime Minister and Chancellor might do next. Oh, and average mortgage rates just exceeded 6%.
It looked like Wednesday might be a confusing day on the stock market, and so it turned out. FTSE 100 shares mostly fell across the board, with the index closing 34 points (0.5%) down at 7,053. It could have been worse, had BP and Shell not propped things up on the back of an OPEC production cut.
The FTSE 350 ended Wednesday on a 24-point (0.6%) drop, at 3,885 points.
US markets calm
US stock markets had a calm day Wednesday, following on from days of big swings in either direction. Might the week end less traumatically, or are investors regrouping for a dramatic finale?
The S&P 500 closed Wednesday with an eight point (0.2%) drop to 3,783 points. The Nasdaq declined by 28 points (0.3%) to close at 11,149.
We’re due a trading update from electronics and electrical distributor RS Group on Thursday, ahead of first-half results due on 3 November.
The FTSE 100 company’s shares are down 4% over the past 12 months. But they’ve gained a healthy 46% over five years. Dividend yields are modest at under 2%.
Thursday is final ex-dividend date for FTSE 100 packaging specialist DS Smith. The total has been lifted 24% to 15p per share, for a 5.8% yield on the current share price.
In the FTSE 250, IT services firm Kainos Group goes ex-div on a more modest 1.7% yield.
Thursday is also interim ex-dividend day for Centrica and Kingfisher in the FTSE 100. And for Weir, Synthomer, Hammerson, Bank of Georgia, RIT Capital Partners, Bodycote, Vistry, Morgan Sindall and Travis Perkins in the FTSE 250.
Two Dividend Heroes, investment companies that have raised their dividends for at least 20 years in a row, also go interim ex-div on Thursday. They are F&C Investment Trust (51 years) and Merchants Trust (40 years). Murray International Trust is there too, bubbling under with 16 years of increases.
Interim dividends should be paid on Thursday to shareholders in InterContinental Hotels, Serco, Intertek and Convatec.
After OPEC+ (which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia) decided to cut oil production by two million barrels per day, the price of the stuff rose.
By late Wednesday, a barrel of Brent Crude had spiked to over $93.