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London midday: FTSE flat but on course for strong week

Fri 09 April 2021 11:08 | A A A

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Market latest

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

7043.61 | Positive 80.28 (1.15%)
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Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes

(Sharecast News) - London stocks had pared earlier losses to trade flat by midday on Friday as the recent rally lost steam, but the FTSE 100 was still on course for its best week since early January.

The top-flight index was steady at 6,939.26.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "The FTSE 100 is up around 3% this week after hitting its strongest since February 2020. It's been a very good week for UK equities as the blue chips finally broke out to post-pandemic highs and the mid-caps on the FTSE 250 hit an all-time high.

"Lots of reasons behind the positive moves in UK equities this year: a vaccine rollout of immense success and an expected economic bounce back as activity returns towards normal both here in Britain and globally are supportive. But you could also look to the relative underperformance of UK equities as a factor - from a low bar they are finally catching up, you could say."

In equity markets, JD Sports was the best performer on the FTSE 100 as Berenberg said it was its "top pick" in consumer discretionary. "We think JD is hugely underestimated as a reopening trade, and we see significant upside risk to consensus forecasts from pent-up demand coupled with attractive M&A optionality," it said, adding that the shares look cheap.

Mike Ashley's Frasers Group was a trading a touch higher despite saying it could face extra non-cash impairments of at least £200m due to "almost certain" further Covid-19 restrictions.

PageGroup surged as the recruiter said improving trading made it more confident about the outlook and reported a 2% increase in first-quarter profit. Peer Hays also rose sharply.

On the downside, Tui slumped after the travel company said it was raising up to €400m (£348m) by selling convertible bonds to strengthen its finances during continuing travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

British American Tobacco was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'neutral' at JPMorgan, while BAE Systems was hit by a downgrade to 'neutral' at Exane.

Babcock International slid after The Financial Times reported that the defence contractor is bracing for a big asset writedown.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,939.26 -0.04%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,245.27 -0.01%

techMARK (TASX) 4,341.62 -0.12%

FTSE 100 - Risers

JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 897.40p 2.87%

Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 12,275.00p 2.72%

Weir Group (WEIR) 1,854.00p 2.18%

Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,051.00p 2.09%

Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,810.00p 1.81%

St James's Place (STJ) 1,349.50p 1.81%

Pearson (PSON) 810.60p 1.66%

Persimmon (PSN) 3,216.00p 1.61%

Barratt Developments (BDEV) 793.00p 1.51%

Next (NXT) 8,322.00p 1.41%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,794.00p -2.26%

Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,951.00p -1.79%

British Land Company (BLND) 511.60p -1.54%

Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,537.50p -1.47%

Avast (AVST) 464.70p -1.36%

Entain (ENT) 1,574.50p -1.35%

BAE Systems (BA.) 520.40p -1.21%

3i Group (III) 1,239.50p -1.08%

Schroders (SDR) 3,626.00p -1.06%

Land Securities Group (LAND) 714.40p -1.03%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Pagegroup (PAGE) 541.00p 8.09%

Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 2,860.00p 5.73%

Hays (HAS) 164.00p 3.67%

Hilton Food Group (HFG) 1,234.00p 3.18%

Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,647.00p 2.94%

Future (FUTR) 2,158.00p 2.76%

Softcat (SCT) 1,939.00p 2.54%

Avon Rubber (AVON) 3,514.00p 2.39%

Impax Environmental Markets (IEM) 475.50p 1.82%

Mediclinic International (MDC) 305.40p 1.73%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 370.00p -6.85%

Babcock International Group (BAB) 224.10p -5.44%

4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,495.00p -2.92%

Ashmore Group (ASHM) 399.40p -2.39%

Hochschild Mining (HOC) 204.00p -2.39%

Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 345.60p -1.76%

Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 300.90p -1.67%

Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 724.00p -1.63%

Genuit Group (GEN) 567.00p -1.56%

Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 177.80p -1.50%

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