(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London opened lower on Thursday, ignoring the rally over on Wall Street on Wednesday.

Amongst individual stocks, BT was the star performer, whilst easyJet and Sage Group dragged the FTSE 100 index down.

The FTSE 100 index opened down 31.09 points, 0.4%, at 8,414.71. The FTSE 250 was up 34.30 points, 0.2%, at 20,809.93, and the AIM All-Share was up 0.2 of a point at 791.81.

The Cboe UK 100 was down 0.3% at 840.90, the Cboe UK 250 was up 0.3% at 18,152.47, and the Cboe Small Companies was down 0.1% at 16,198.46.

In European equities on Thursday, the CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.4%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was down 0.1%.

In the US on Wednesday, Wall Street ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.9%, the S&P 500 up 1.2% and the Nasdaq Composite up 1.4%.

All three indices notched recorded closing highs. The Dow and S&P 500 surpassed previous highs recorded on March 28, while the Nasdaq moved past Tuesday's previous record.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the year-on-year consumer price inflation rate cooled to 3.4% in April, from 3.5% in March, as expected.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices increased 0.3% in April, easing from a 0.4% rise in March from February. Prices had been expected to register another 0.4% rise last month, according to FXStreet cited consensus.

"Markets will continue to digest yesterday's US CPI inflation and retail sales reports, and to what extent they have shifted monetary policy expectations. The data have dampened risks that the Fed may have to resume interest rate hikes and will likely reinforce the current policy stance to keep them on hold at current restrictive levels for now while rate-setters wait for more data," said analysts at Lloyds Bank.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2678 early on Thursday in London, up compared to USD1.2668 at the equities close on Wednesday. The euro stood at USD1.0876, higher against USD1.0872. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY154.30, down compared to JPY154.85.

In the FTSE 100, BT was the star performer of the morning, shooting up 8.9%.

The London-based telecommunications firm reported that revenue edged up to GBP20.80 billion in the financial year ended March 31 from GBP20.68 billion a year earlier.

Pretax profit fell to GBP1.19 billion from GBP1.73 billion. BT explained that pretax profit fell due to impairment of goodwill and increased depreciation.

BT increased its dividend by 3.9% annually to 8.0p.

On the other hand, Sage Group lost 10%.

The Newcastle upon Tyne, England-based enterprise software company reported that revenue in the six months ended March 31 rose to GBP1.15 billion from GBP1.09 billion a year ago. Pretax profit increased to GBP203 million from GBP139 million.

Looking ahead, Sage Group said it expects full year revenue growth to be broadly in line with the first half.

easyJet lost 7.0%.

The airline said that revenue came in at GBP3.27 billion for the six months ended March 31, up from GBP2.69 billion a year earlier. Pretax loss narrowed to GBP347 million, versus GBP415 million.

Separately, easyJet said that Johan Lundgren will step down as chief executive and leave the company in 2025 having then served seven years as CEO. At that time, Kenton Jarvis will succeed Johan and become CEO. Jarvis joined easyJet in February 2021 as chief financial officer.

In the FTSE 250, Watches of Switzerland jumped 16%.

The Leicester, England-based watch retailer said that in its final quarter of financial 2024 sales were line with guidance and ahead of consensus. Watches of Switzerland financial year runs to April 28.

Looking ahead, the company said it is "cautiously optimistic" about trading in financial 2025.

Future rose 15%.

In the six months ended March 31, revenue fell to GBP391.5 million from GP404.7 million a year earlier. Pretax profit dropped 30% to GBP46.6 million from GBP66.4 million.

More positively, Future said that it is confident in delivering full year results in line with expectations.

In Asia on Thursday, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was up 1.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.1%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 1.5%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 1.7%.

Brent oil was quoted at USD82.94 a barrel early in London on Thursday, up from USD82.42 late Wednesday. Gold was quoted at USD2,389.50 an ounce, higher against USD2,381.08.

Still to come on Thursday's economic calendar, there is the latest US initial jobless claims reading at 1330 BST, before industrial production data at 1415 BST.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

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