Diageo’s Grim Forecast and Stagnant UK Economy Weigh on London Stocks

This announcement triggered an 11.3% decrease in the beverages index (.FTNMX451010), marking its worst day since October 1987.

London stocks experienced a decline on Friday, driven by a gloomy forecast from beverage maker Diageo and concerning economic data indicating a lack of growth in the British economy during the third quarter.

Diageo’s stock (DGE.L) plummeted by 12.2% to a nearly three-year low after the company, known for Johnnie Walker whisky, announced expectations of a drop in first-half operating profit growth due to a “materially weaker performance” in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This announcement triggered an 11.3% decrease in the beverages index (.FTNMX451010), marking its worst day since October 1987.

Overall, the benchmark FTSE 100 (.FTSE) experienced a 1.3% decline, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 (.FTMC) dropped by 1.0%.

Adding to the negative sentiment, economic data revealed that the UK’s economy remained stagnant in the July-to-September period, although it managed to avoid entering a recession.

Chris Hare, a senior economist at HSBC global research, noted that the “real income squeeze has eased relative to last winter,” but raised concerns about where future growth would come from in the medium term, especially given the soft global backdrop.

However, there was a glimmer of hope as Goldman Sachs raised the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for the year to 0.6%, up from the previous expectation of 0.5%.

UK equities had a relatively stagnant week as investors awaited data to assess domestic economic performance, following the Bank of England’s recent decision to hold off on monetary tightening.

The FTSE 100 ended the week with a 0.8% loss, while the mid-cap index concluded 0.9% lower.

In an unusual twist, early trade on Friday saw all FTSE Russell indexes affected by a technical issue that prevented them from being published for forty minutes, according to index provider parent LSEG.

Fortunately, stocks continued to trade normally, and the issue was limited to index calculations.

Among other market movers, Redrow (RDW.L) lowered its expectations, anticipating that annual profit and revenue would fall at the lower end of its forecast range due to a subdued autumn housing market.

This announcement led to a 4.2% decrease in Redrow’s shares, while the home construction index (.FTNMX402020) declined by 2.0%.