Retail stock traders opted for more selling than buying in the last week, as the FTSE100 edged upwards towards 5900 points.
Stockbroker TD Waterhouse said bank and mining stocks had rallied in the week to 14 December, with both Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland posting gains, leading to some traders cashing in on the increased share prices.
Trading and services director at the firm, Darren Hepworth, said 12.3 per cent more stock was sold than bought as traders sought profits.
Lloyds, RBS and Barclays were the top ten sells for TD Waterhouse customers.
BP which has been the subject of rumours about a possible takeover from one of its rivals was six in the top ten sells list.
The US government announced it was seeking damages from BP and other companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico Macondo oil well on 16 December. This led to a slide in BP’s price with shares closing at 470p on 16 December. In trading on 17 December the share price continued to fall.
TD Waterhouse said energy and mining stocks had seen price rises, Edenville Energy, formerly known as Gemstones of Africa Group, was sixth place in the top ten buys list. Oil explorer Xcite Energy was the most popular buy, with gold producer Centamin Egypt and oil and gas explorer Encore Oil also in the top ten buys table.
The FTSE100 was up 0.20 per cent during morning trading on 17 December, despite renewed fears over consumer spending going into 2011.
The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index was at its lowest point since March 2009, the building society said. This was driven by a fall in the spending index which is at its lowest level for two years.
Over the last 12 months the expectations index has fallen 51 points, with a growing pessimism about the housing market reported.
Nationwide chief economist Martin Grahbauer said: “Consumer confidence continued its downward trend during the month leaving the index close to the historic lows recorded at the beginning of 2009.
“It seems that people still feel downbeat about their own situation. However, this is not uncommon in the early stages of a recovery. After all, the labour market, which is a vital factor underpinning confidence, often lags the upturn in the wider economy.”
Grahbauer suggested the fact average earnings growth was not keeping up with inflation might mean consumers were finding their purchasing power was being eroded, affecting major purchases.
“Furthermore, as austerity measures start to be felt more widely they could continue to weigh on confidence. Nonetheless, the Bank of England base rate is expected to remain at its record low of 0.50 per cent well into 2011 and, if the recovery is maintained, next year may see sentiment return to more positive territory.”
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