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London close: Stocks finish higher amid optimism around lockdown easing

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 27 May 2020

London close: Stocks finish higher amid optimism around lockdown easing

(Sharecast News) - London stocks had pared back some earlier gains by the close on Wednesday, but still finished positive as optimism over lockdown easing offset concerns about growing tensions in Hong Kong and souring relations between the US and China.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.26% at 6,144.25 and the FTSE 250 was ahead 1.24% at 17,143.62.

Sterling, meanwhile, was weaker against both of its major trading pairs, falling 0.8% against the dollar to $1.2235 and sliding 0.72% on the euro to €1.1150.

"With varying degrees of tenacity, the markets continued to rally on Wednesday, ignoring further potential red flags for the US-China relationship," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

"As Beijing added a bill banning mockery of the Chinese national anthem, while preparing to rubber stamp a new set of national security laws, armed police flooded the streets of Hong Kong in an attempt to deter and disperse pro-democracy protests."

Campbell said that, beyond the "terrifying implications" for Hong Kong itself, it was also adding fuel to the fire of US-China tensions.

He noted that Trump had said he was "displeased" with China, and that the US president would "take action" against the superpower this week if the national security laws were imposed.

"And yet, despite all this, investors were insistent on focusing on the lockdown-easing measures from around the globe, extending yesterday's substantial gains."

Investors were also eyeing the unveiling of a potential €500bn coronavirus stimulus package from the European Commission later in the day.

In equity markets, M&G was up 9.98% after it announced the acquisition of Royal London's digital wealth management platform for independent financial advisers and said it will pay dividends totalling £410m.

Asset manager St James's Place was 8.32% higher as it reported a 1% uptick in net inflows for the month of April thanks to strong retention of client investments, and said funds under management rose to £108.8bn from £107.2bn the year before, benefiting from both positive net inflows and a positive investment return.

Turnaround specialist Melrose Industries was 11.99% firmer, while Rolls-Royce tacked on 9.51% and Meggitt advanced 10.43%.

Travel stocks were on the rise again, with cruise operator Carnival 2.07% firmer, British Airways and Iberia parent IAG up 6.74% and package holiday giant TUI in the black by 15.61%.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,144.25 1.26%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,143.62 1.24%
techMARK (TASX) 3,683.34 -0.79%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Melrose Industries (MRO) 118.65p 11.99%
Meggitt (MGGT) 304.80p 10.43%
M&G (MNG) 140.00p 9.98%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 346.10p 9.94%
St James's Place (STJ) 950.00p 8.32%
Barclays (BARC) 119.84p 8.18%
Carnival (CCL) 1,196.00p 7.65%
British Land Company (BLND) 408.00p 7.37%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 266.40p 7.07%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 120.15p 6.75%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Barratt Developments (BDEV) 502.80p -5.67%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,329.00p -3.96%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,821.00p -3.68%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,037.00p -3.32%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 8,010.00p -3.17%
Fresnillo (FRES) 750.80p -2.72%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,610.50p -2.66%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 2,424.00p -2.57%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 484.80p -2.53%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,269.00p -2.49%

FTSE 250 - Risers

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 530.40p 15.61%
Hyve Group (HYVE) 18.50p 14.06%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 99.98p 12.54%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 50.75p 11.88%
Elementis (ELM) 69.05p 11.37%
Greencore Group (GNC) 143.00p 11.37%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 77.28p 11.00%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 76.75p 8.56%
Senior (SNR) 63.85p 8.04%
Unite Group (UTG) 824.00p 7.64%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Kainos Group (KNOS) 780.00p -7.25%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 23.60p -5.77%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 188.30p -5.76%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 183.80p -4.79%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 466.00p -4.23%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 349.20p -3.85%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 770.00p -3.69%
Serco Group (SRP) 127.40p -3.56%
SSP Group (SSPG) 294.80p -3.41%
Marston's (MARS) 57.05p -3.39%

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