February 21, 2024

London midday: Stocks extend gains as travel & leisure sectors recover

London stocks had extended gains by midday on Tuesday despite the release of uninspiring jobs…

London midday: Stocks extend gains as travel & leisure sectors recover

London stocks had extended gains by midday on Tuesday despite the release of uninspiring jobs and retail sales data, as travel and leisure issues recovered.

The FTSE was up 0.7{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} at 6,686.12.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said the FTSE’s gains were “peculiar” given the grim jobs data and suggested that investors were trying to “force a positive angle on a jobs report that saw redundancies at a record high, and the unemployment rate hit 5{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} for the first time since mid-2016”.

“Yet that rise in the unemployment rate still leaves it short of the 5.1{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} forecast. The average earnings index surged past estimates, at 3.6{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} against the 2.9{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} estimated. And, in the most recent piece of data, December’s claimant count change reading came in at just 7.0k, a fraction of both the 38.1k seen the month prior, and the 47.5k analysts had expected.”

Investors were also mulling the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry, which showed that retail sales fell to their lowest level in January since May 2020 as lockdown took its toll.

The CBI’s monthly gauge of retail sales slid to -50 from -3 in December, coming in below consensus expectations for a reading of -33. Meanwhile, the gauge for sales expectations for February came in at -47{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}, hitting the lowest level since July.

CBI economist Ben Jones said: “Today’s data brings home the ongoing challenges of lockdown for the retail sector, as sales volumes weaken once again. On the upside, while the headline balance points to a fall in sales across many sub-sectors, the experience of the past few months suggests the decline won’t be anything like as severe as in spring 2020.

“With the lockdown likely to remain in place in the near-term, retailers expect this weakness to continue. It is therefore vital that government support continues in parallel to restrictions.”

In equity markets, caterer Compass Group was among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 after an upgrade to ‘neutral’ from ‘underperform’ at Exane.

Opioid addiction treatment maker Indivior surged after Reckitt Benckiser said it will withdraw a $1.4bn claim against the company. Indivior has agreed to pay the consumer goods giant $50m to end the legal battle related to a US probe into opioid addition.

Crest Nicholson rose after the housebuilder reinstated its dividend despite swinging to a full-year loss.

Travel and leisure stocks were also in the black, having fallen sharply on Monday and earlier in the session amid worries about the impact of prolonged lockdowns and travel restrictions.

On the downside, Rolls-Royce slumped after saying it expects £2bn in cash burn this year, with widebody engine flying hours falling to 55{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} of 2019 levels compared with 70{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} previously forecast as new variants of Covid-19 and enhanced travel restrictions created short-term uncertainty.

JD Sports Fashion was also weaker after it confirmed it is exploring additional funding options with a view to increasing its flexibility “to invest in future strategic opportunities”, and said this may involve a non pre-emptive equity placing.

Trainline was knocked lower by a downgrade to ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan Cazenove.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,686.12 0.71{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,487.48 0.67{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
techMARK (TASX) 4,187.79 0.87{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}

FTSE 100 – Risers

Informa (INF) 511.40p 3.77{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Pearson (PSON) 745.00p 3.76{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,000.00p 3.70{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Compass Group (CPG) 1,364.50p 3.25{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
3i Group (III) 1,162.50p 2.47{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,742.00p 2.29{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Mondi (MNDI) 1,818.00p 2.05{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Barclays (BARC) 139.88p 2.01{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,809.00p 2.00{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,643.00p 1.99{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 93.80p -4.29{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,440.00p -1.74{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 806.20p -1.44{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,308.00p -1.35{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,660.00p -1.16{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Glencore (GLEN) 256.80p -1.14{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
M&G (MNG) 188.85p -1.00{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Ferguson (FERG) 8,914.00p -0.85{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,073.00p -0.83{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Whitbread (WTB) 3,012.00p -0.76{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}

FTSE 250 – Risers

Indivior (INDV) 142.00p 11.02{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 821.00p 5.19{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Hammerson (HMSO) 20.24p 4.87{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 399.80p 4.33{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 111.25p 3.97{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 239.10p 3.82{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Shaftesbury (SHB) 530.50p 3.71{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
ITV (ITV) 102.65p 3.37{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Airtel Africa (AAF) 77.10p 3.35{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
IP Group (IPO) 96.70p 3.31{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Trainline (TRN) 388.00p -4.20{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
AO World (AO.) 316.00p -2.92{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Greencore Group (GNC) 114.40p -1.80{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 202.20p -1.75{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Ninety One (N91) 230.00p -1.71{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,308.00p -1.35{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Sabre Insurance Group (SBRE) 262.00p -1.32{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,375.00p -1.25{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,334.50p -1.18{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}
Energean (ENOG) 807.50p -1.16{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5}