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London close: Stocks finish firmer as sterling weakens against dollar

Tue 30 March 2021 16:07 | A A A

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

7076.17 | Positive 36.87 (0.52%)

Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes

(Sharecast News) - London stocks finished in positive territory on Tuesday, as investors looked past the Archegos Capital collapse.

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.53% at 6,772.12, and the FTSE 250 was 0.65% firmer at 21,574.44.

Sterling was in a mixed state, last trading 0.33% weaker on the dollar at $1.3717, as it strengthened 0.04% against the euro to €1.1703.

"For yet another day a brief wobble in the FTSE 100 has been bought, providing hope that the index can make up its mind soon about a move above 6,800," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"The index has been supported by another bounce for value names such as engineering, travel and miners, along with decent gains for bank stocks.

"This is exactly the kind of cocktail to provide a foundation for further gains, helped along by a timely bout of sterling weakness that has seen GBP-USD pushed back towards $1.37."

On the economic front, grocery sales slowed ahead of the anniversary of the first national lockdown, according to the latest figures from Kantar.

Take-home grocery sales rose by 7.4% over the 12 weeks ended 21 March, a marked slowdown on the growth seen in previous months.

In the 12 weeks to 21 February, sales rose by 12.5%, jumping by 15.1% in the last four weeks of the period.

The most recent four-week period saw sales fall 3.0% year-on-year, however, with shoppers making 117m fewer trips to supermarkets.

"The anniversary of the first national lockdown means we begin to compare grocery sales against the record-breaking levels seen in the early days of the pandemic, and growth has perhaps not surprisingly dipped over the past four weeks as a result," said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.

"This time last year, Brits were adjusting to schools and offices closing and making extra trips to the supermarket to fill their cupboards for lockdown."

In equity markets, British Airways and Iberia owner IAG ascended 5.1%, with banks Barclays and HSBC also putting in a solid performance, rising 4.86% and 3%, respectively.

Royal Mail rallied 2.04% after saying it would pay a one-off dividend and holding full-year profits guidance as it outlined plans to more than double profits at its GLS parcels unit in the next five years.

Ladbrokes owner Entain was boosted 1.46% by an upgrade to 'overweight' at JPMorgan, but 888 Holdings was knocked 0.99% lower by a downgrade to 'neutral' by the same outfit as it took a look at online gaming stocks.

Polymer maker Victrex gained 5.16% after an upgrade to 'neutral' at Citi, which pointed to the first signs of volume growth "as many of its key end markets look to be through trough levels".

On the downside, Imperial Brands fell 0.99% even after it backed its full-year guidance as it hailed a good start to the year, with market share growth in its five priority markets.

SSE and Pennon were both lower after trading updates, falling 1.48% and 2.48% respectively, while Cairn Energy lost 1.38% after it said India has appealed against an order by an international tribunal to pay $1.2bn damages to the company in a long-running tax dispute.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,772.12 0.53%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,574.44 0.65%

techMARK (TASX) 4,258.68 0.57%

FTSE 100 - Risers

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 202.00p 5.10%

Barclays (BARC) 189.14p 4.86%

Melrose Industries (MRO) 172.40p 4.31%

NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 197.30p 3.98%

Legal & General Group (LGEN) 285.60p 3.55%

HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 430.65p 3.00%

BAE Systems (BA.) 513.00p 2.81%

Aviva (AV.) 412.20p 2.72%

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 43.10p 2.47%

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 108.55p 2.36%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Fresnillo (FRES) 857.40p -4.05%

Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,030.00p -2.26%

Severn Trent (SVT) 2,294.00p -2.05%

British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,770.00p -2.00%

Polymetal International (POLY) 1,389.50p -1.73%

National Grid (NG.) 859.20p -1.49%

SSE (SSE) 1,434.50p -1.48%

AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,289.00p -1.42%

DCC (CDI) (DCC) 6,310.00p -1.41%

Aveva Group (AVV) 3,360.00p -1.38%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Hammerson (HMSO) 36.18p 8.03%

Micro Focus International (MCRO) 587.60p 6.84%

easyJet (EZJ) 990.00p 5.54%

Victrex plc (VCT) 2,228.00p 5.16%

Just Group (JUST) 101.80p 4.62%

Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 4,966.00p 4.55%

Meggitt (MGGT) 487.10p 4.28%

Carnival (CCL) 1,622.50p 3.97%

WH Smith (SMWH) 1,845.00p 3.72%

Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 194.10p 3.46%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Tullow Oil (TLW) 47.58p -3.57%

JTC (JTC) 618.00p -3.44%

PureTech Health (PRTC) 396.00p -3.41%

Centamin (DI) (CEY) 102.05p -3.18%

Cineworld Group (CINE) 103.30p -3.14%

Hilton Food Group (HFG) 1,068.00p -2.70%

Pennon Group (PNN) 968.40p -2.48%

IWG (IWG) 337.00p -2.32%

Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 400.80p -2.24%

Dr. Martens (DOCS) 454.00p -2.16%

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