I am trying so hard to raise my enthusiasm for this market, which only offers inertia with a touch of sedentary dealings in painfully quiet trading conditions. The fact that UK manufacturing output, which makes up 70% of industrial production, has been hard hit by the crisis in the steel sector, with output almost 2% lower in March 2016 than it was a year earlier, did not help. The manufacture of basic metals and metal production has dropped by 4% over the past year, contributing to the steepest fall in industrial production since May 2013. At 4.15pm the FTSE 100 was down 6 points at 6150. Positive US oil inventories offered hope for a few minutes but the rally died on its feet after 20 minutes.
The mining sector offered the most encouragement – up 2.5% with Anglo American up 5%. Oils were OK up 0.25% on average and drugs bobbed along singing a song – up 0.5%. Banks were off their grub down 0.5%.
Of the companies posting results today, Compass was down 1% and John Wood was up 0.75%. Tui Travel was easier by 1% with patchy bookings. Experian was also down 1%, as was Barratt Development. The laggard of the day was William Hill – -4%. The Street of Dreams was up 115 points with energy the main beneficiary.