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London midday: Stocks rise further after stack of solid earnings

Thu 28 April 2022 11:01 | A A A

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

7208.81 | Positive 188.36 (2.68%)

Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes

(Sharecast News) - London stocks rose further by lunchtime on Thursday, with investors sifting through a huge pile of earnings reports, as concerns over gas supplies in eastern Europe lingered.

At midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.99% at 7,498.97, and the FTSE 250 was ahead 1.07% at 20,656.51.

"Some decent earnings reports have given the FTSE 100 a welcome lift today, although the market reaction to some has been a little bit underwhelming, which is causing the rebound on the UK index to lag its European peers," said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.

"Banks are doing well, helped by some solid numbers from Standard Chartered, while Barclays numbers have been a mixed bag.

"Barclays has had a difficult quarter with the shares down near one-year lows, having hit their highest levels since April 2018 at the start of this year."

Hewson said the honeymoon for new chief executive Venkat was over, with his competence being called into question as the bank faced a regulatory investigation over some of its trading products in the US, when he was in charge of controlling its risk environment.

"The mistake appears to have come about after it was realised that the bank sold nearly £28bn of exchange-traded notes that track commodity prices over a three-year period and only registered £16bn of them with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

"It now has to repurchase the balance, which it is estimated will cost it over £500m."

Barclays set aside £540m for the matter in its first quarter numbers on Thursday.

"Putting that to one side, the wider numbers for the first quarter show a bank that is trading well, with total revenues rising by 10% to £6.5bn.

"Offsetting that improvement, it's notable that costs have risen faster, rising 15% to £4.1bn, however £523m of that increase was in respect of litigation costs related to the above."

On the economic front, all eyes were on the United States, where the latest economic growth measure was due to be released at 1330 BST.

GDP growth is expected to have slowed significantly in the first quarter, with economists pencilling in a rise of 1.1%, compared to 6.9% three months ago.

On the continent, meanwhile, German inflation figures for April are due out at 1300 BST, while the cost of living in Spain came off the boil a little in April as the fuel and electricity prices declined.

According to the country's national statistics office, the annual increase in the country's consumer price index eased to 8.4% in April, from 9.8% for March.

That was close to twice the decline to 9.0% anticipated by the consensus.

In equities, kitchen supplier Howden Joinery was still in the green after it said overall revenues had grown 21.8% year-on-year in the 16 weeks ended 16 April, while same depot revenues were up 20.1%, driven by increases in both prices and volume.

Unilever was managing small gains after warning about rising costs, as the consumer goods group reported higher first-quarter sales driven by price increases.

Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered was surging around 16%, after reporting a better-than-expected 6% rise in first-quarter profit, boosted by rising global interest rates.

Pharmaceuticals firm Indivior was firmer after first quarter net revenue came in at $207m (£165.07m), up 15% year-on-year, as it maintained its guidance for the full year.

Premier Inn owner Whitbread was gaining on its swing to a full-year profit and beating estimates as revenues improved, although it raised guidance on cost inflation as the economic squeeze continued.

Glencore was rising after the miner said its trading business boomed in the first quarter, as the war in Ukraine caused shortages of some commodities and volatile markets.

Barclays remained in positive territory, even after it delayed its £1bn share buyback further as a £523m conduct charge caused the bank's first-quarter profit to fall.

Pretax profit dropped 7% to £2.23bn in the three months to the end of March from a year earlier as income rose 10% to £6.5bn.

The decline was caused by the conduct charge which covered over-issuance of securities in the US and customer compensation costs for a separate matter.

St. James's Place reversed earlier losses to trade higher, after it reiterated its expectations for full-year new business growth and over the medium-term, despite the "significant" impact of the war in Ukraine during the first quarter.

On the downside, supermarket giant J Sainsbury continued to slide after it warned of lower profits this fiscal year as the cost-of-living crisis and inflation hit the economy.

The company forecast underlying pre-tax profit of £630m - £690m in full-year 2022/23 as it posted a £730m profit last year, up 104% on the prior 12 months driven by grocery and fuel sales.

Schroders was also in the red, after it reported total assets under management of £752.7bn at the end of its first quarter, rising from £731.6bn at the end of December.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,499.96 1.00%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,652.49 1.05%

techMARK (TASX) 4,342.38 1.29%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Standard Chartered (STAN) 556.20p 15.95%

Whitbread (WTB) 2,878.00p 4.39%

Aveva Group (AVV) 1,998.50p 3.87%

Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,310.50p 3.31%

Airtel Africa (AAF) 147.50p 3.00%

Electrocomponents (ECM) 1,032.00p 2.99%

Barclays (BARC) 145.88p 2.79%

Ashtead Group (AHT) 4,284.00p 2.66%

HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 498.95p 2.60%

Shell (SHEL) 2,180.75p 2.36%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Fresnillo (FRES) 758.20p -4.48%

Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 233.20p -2.43%

St James's Place (STJ) 1,290.50p -1.86%

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,838.00p -1.53%

Anglo American (AAL) 3,457.50p -1.40%

BT Group (BT.A) 180.35p -0.58%

Schroders (SDR) 2,854.00p -0.49%

Relx plc (REL) 2,404.00p -0.46%

Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 6,168.00p -0.36%

Pearson (PSON) 771.00p -0.34%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 423.80p 6.32%

Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,614.00p 5.49%

Spectris (SXS) 2,810.00p 5.32%

Inchcape (INCH) 700.50p 5.18%

Synthomer (SYNT) 300.00p 4.90%

Network International Holdings (NETW) 261.80p 4.72%

Molten Ventures (GROW) 709.50p 4.11%

888 Holdings (888) 192.50p 4.00%

BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 720.00p 3.90%

Beazley (BEZ) 434.20p 3.88%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Weir Group (WEIR) 1,551.50p -3.63%

Tyman (TYMN) 276.50p -3.32%

Morgan Sindall Group (MGNS) 2,205.00p -2.65%

FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 1,034.00p -1.71%

Babcock International Group (BAB) 306.40p -1.29%

Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Limited (SEQI) 99.60p -1.19%

Playtech (PTEC) 526.00p -1.13%

Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 129.80p -1.07%

Contour Global (GLO) 190.00p -1.04%

Coats Group (COA) 67.10p -1.03%

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