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London close: Stocks finish firmer as investors hope for US stimulus deal

Wed 05 August 2020 16:21 | A A A

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FTSE 100 | FTSE 250 | Paris CAC 40 | Dow Jones | NASDAQ

6007.05 | Negative 42.87 (0.71%)

Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes

(Sharecast News) - London stocks finished in positive territory on Wednesday, amid expectations of further coronavirus stimulus in the US, as gold prices hit a new high.

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.14% at 6,104.72, and the FTSE 250 was 1.91% higher at 17,638.30.

Sterling was in a mixed state, last trading 0.49% stronger against the greenback at $1.3135, but weakening 0.25% on the euro to €1.1047.

"Dealers are still optimistic that politicians in the US will reach an agreement in relation to the coronavirus relief package," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The negotiations between Republicans and Democrats are still dragging on, and there isn't much hope that things will be resolved quickly, but ultimately there is a sense that a deal will be reached in the end."

All eyes were indeed on the United States, as Democrats and Republicans attempted to reach a deal on further stimulus by the end of the week.

"The sentiment is positive in the US as some optimism is still doing the rounds with respect to the stimulus package," Madden noted.

"Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to compromise at the moment, but there is a belief that both sides will reach some sort of agreement in the end.

"Richard Clarida, the Fed vice chair, said the US economy might return to pre-pandemic levels of activity by the end of 2021."

In equity markets, British Airways and Iberia parent IAG was ahead 10.07%, putting it firmly at the top of the FTSE 100 at the end of the trading day.

Precious metals miners Polymetal, Fresnillo and Hochschild were among the top gainers, adding 6.36%, 5.93% and 14.42% respectively, as gold prices rose above $2,000 for the first time.

Spot gold was last up 0.93%, trading at $2,038.05 per ounce.

Elsewhere, Hastings surged 17.27% after it agreed terms on a £1.6bn takeover from a consortium led by Finnish insurer Sampo and its biggest shareholder, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings.

The company also reported an increase in first-half profits as higher premium and an improved loss ratio offset the impact of claims inflation due to the pandemic.

Coca-Cola HBC was on the front foot by 8.12% as the bottling group reported a decline in first-half profit and revenue as it took a hit from lockdowns but said trading was beginning to recover from April lows.

Legal & General reversed earlier losses to close up 1.32%, as the insurer left its interim dividend unchanged, and reported a 73% fall in first-half profit caused by low interest rates and investment losses.

On the downside, shopping centre owner Hammerson was 5.44% lower a day ahead of its half-year results.

The company confirmed earlier in the week that it was in advanced talks over the terms of a possible disposal of its 50% stake in its VIA outlets business to its joint venture partner APG and that it is considering a rights issue.

Banks were mixed by the end of the session, with HSBC down 0.97% and NatWest off 0.44%, while Lloyds and Standard Chartered reversed earlier losses to close up 0.07% and 0.55%, respectively.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,104.72 1.14%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,638.30 1.91%

techMARK (TASX) 3,829.05 1.09%

FTSE 100 - Risers

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 193.80p 10.49%

Evraz (EVR) 321.90p 9.04%

Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,198.00p 8.12%

Glencore (GLEN) 196.20p 7.48%

Polymetal International (POLY) 2,050.00p 6.36%

Compass Group (CPG) 1,157.00p 6.10%

Fresnillo (FRES) 1,340.00p 5.93%

JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 650.00p 5.52%

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 258.50p 5.38%

BHP Group (BHP) 1,783.80p 4.70%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Diageo (DGE) 2,623.00p -3.60%

National Grid (NG.) 907.40p -1.69%

Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,710.00p -1.20%

HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 333.45p -0.97%

Pennon Group (PNN) 1,054.00p -0.89%

BT Group (BT.A) 105.20p -0.85%

United Utilities Group (UU.) 901.80p -0.79%

Severn Trent (SVT) 2,441.00p -0.61%

AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,500.00p -0.58%

Vodafone Group (VOD) 117.20p -0.49%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Hastings Group Holdings (HSTG) 253.00p 17.67%

Morgan Sindall Group (MGNS) 1,222.00p 17.50%

Hochschild Mining (HOC) 317.40p 14.42%

Ferrexpo (FXPO) 205.00p 12.95%

IWG (IWG) 248.00p 11.41%

Centamin (DI) (CEY) 232.10p 9.58%

William Hill (WMH) 127.60p 8.92%

Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 169.20p 8.88%

Babcock International Group (BAB) 283.10p 8.14%

FirstGroup (FGP) 38.92p 7.34%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Hammerson (HMSO) 55.96p -6.80%

Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 262.00p -4.20%

XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 4,130.00p -2.82%

Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,106.00p -2.81%

RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 2,498.00p -2.27%

Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 844.00p -2.20%

Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,370.00p -2.14%

HGCapital Trust (HGT) 255.00p -1.92%

Airtel Africa (AAF) 55.90p -1.76%

Centrica (CNA) 47.99p -1.74%

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