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(Sharecast News) - Top performing sectors in London on Wednesday were oil companies, miners, housebuilders and retailers, while mobile telecoms was dialled down.
Commodities were given a boost as the US dollar softened, while miners and metals also climbed on the general improvement in risk appetite, helped by positive reports out of China.
US-China trade talks were said to have ended on an optimistic note, with confirmation that China intends to buy more US products.
US official Ted McKinney told CNBC the talks had gone "just fine", while other news reports suggested Beijing will release details of the talks on Thursday.
The market reacted bullishly, noted analyst David Madden at CMC Markets: "Traders are aware that some structural issues still persist, and that more issues need to be resolved, but the overall mood is positive."
Oil prices continued to rally, with Brent crude up 2.3% to $60.08 per barrel, even with a slight pullback as the US Energy Information Administration revealed that oil inventories dropped by 1.68m barrels, and that gasoline stockpiles surged by over 8 million barrels.
Housebuilders and retailers were boosted by Brexit machinations, as the government was defeated for the second time this week, plus some sector specific news.
Builders built up further gains after Taylor Wimpey said the housing market had "remained stable" in recent months, despite uncertainties caused by Brexit.
The FTSE 100 group said it would report 2018 full year results in line with expectations as total home completions increased by 3%. Taylor Wimpey was up almost 5%, while peers Berkeley, Persimmon, Barratt, Crest Nicholson all gained more than 3%, with all sector peers in the green to some extent.
"Certainly, there is an element of hesitancy for the more internationally focused London market, yet there is relative price stability for much of the UK market despite fears of a potential selloff," said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG.
Likewise, retailers were giving it a twirl after news emanating from the sector was not as bad as some had feared.
Fashion chain Ted Baker rose sharply as it posted 12.2% jump in sales over the Christmas period thanks to strength in the online segment. Numbers from Sainsbury's were unimpressive, however, as the grocer's management tries to stick to its knitting while also trying to wrestle the Asda merger over the line.
Mid-way through the busy retail reporting week, Christmas 2018 has "thrown up more winners than we envisaged", said consumer analyst Greg Lawless at Shore Capital, overall being "solid, rather than spectacular".
He said trading updates so far have highlighted a big three-day weekend from Saturday 22 December, as consumers got paid and the schools broke up for the festive break.
"In our view, a few themes have emerged - discount did well (Aldi and Lidl), as did premium brands and online (Selfridges, Sosandar and Joules). The losers lagging behind the pack appear to be Sainsburys, Footasylum (three profit warnings in nine months) and Gear4music."
Thursday is 'super Thursday' with Tesco, M&S, Debenhams, B&M and John Lewis all set to report.
Lawless said that by Friday lunchtime, investors and analysts will have a better sense of how challenging the festive period actually was, "but December retail sales appear to have grown well ahead of the more muted UK consumer that was seen in October and November".
The mobile telecoms sector was lower, led by Vodafone after a second negative note on the group this week. Both Macquarie and RBC Capital Markets are targeting a share price of 125p, with cash flow worries putting the dividend under pressure.
Banks were down mid-session as bond yields softened and US banks fell on Federal speaker comments, pushing expectations of a rate hike back.
Top performing sectors so far today
Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 12,151.77 +4.42%
Forestry & Paper 19,711.88 +3.15%
Software & Computer Services 1,821.57 +2.67%
Electricity 6,811.47 +2.48%
Industrial Metals & Mining 4,589.59 +2.40%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Mobile Telecommunications 3,364.97 -2.55%
Technology Hardware & Equipment 948.04 -1.48%
Leisure Goods 7,956.42 -1.39%
Industrial Transportation 2,248.16 -0.46%
Real Estate Investment Trusts 2,707.59 -0.35%
FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,909.86 0.70%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,359.31 1.01%
techMARK (TASX) 3,386.32 0.81%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 601.20p 6.03%
ITV (ITV) 139.00p 5.78%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 148.05p 5.45%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 856.20p 5.24%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 1,494.50p 4.07%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,748.00p 3.79%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,818.00p 3.59%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,972.00p 3.27%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 2,422.00p 3.20%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,105.00p 3.19%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 151.80p -2.44%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 222.00p -1.68%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,883.50p -1.18%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,134.50p -1.13%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 6,735.00p -1.10%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 823.80p -0.72%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,072.50p -0.66%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,490.00p -0.66%
Diageo (DGE) 2,718.00p -0.62%
Relx plc (REL) 1,638.00p -0.61%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ted Baker (TED) 1,988.00p 23.02%
Softcat (SCT) 699.30p 18.73%
Greggs (GRG) 1,450.00p 6.07%
Serco Group (SRP) 115.10p 5.99%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 168.50p 5.64%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 123.00p 5.62%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 395.00p 5.61%
Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 1,524.40p 5.36%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 333.40p 4.32%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,441.50p 4.12%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Just Group (JUST) 94.90p -5.10%
Man Group (EMG) 136.20p -3.58%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 1,444.00p -2.96%
Charter Court Financial Services Group (CCFS) 262.80p -2.45%
Contour Global (GLO) 181.00p -2.16%
Ascential (ASCL) 403.00p -1.95%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 772.00p -1.91%
Assura (AGR) 54.65p -1.88%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,570.50p -1.81%
Rank Group (RNK) 147.00p -1.74%
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