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London midday: Stocks up but Asia-focused StanChart, HSBC retreat

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 28 May 2020

London midday: Stocks up but Asia-focused StanChart, HSBC retreat

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were still in the black by midday on Thursday as optimism over lockdown easing helped to offset concerns about unrest in Hong Kong and a deterioration in Sino-US relations.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.7% at 6,185.24.

Sentiment was underpinned by the European Commission's announcement on Wednesday of a €750bn recovery fund. Still, unrest in Hong Kong and growing tensions between the US and China continued to play on investors' minds, after China's parliament approved the imposition of national security legislation on HK.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: "Everybody is painfully aware of the lockdowns, but as they ae being loosened, the bullish sentiment keeps growing. The various steps taken to try and return to normal life are small, but they are significant as any progress is welcomed.

"The positive mood in Europe hasn't been impacted by the rising tensions between the US and China. Washington DC might impose sanctions on Chinese officials, in addition to that, economic pressure might be applied to Hong Kong - by treating it the same as China rather than a different entity. Beijing has expressed a desire to retaliate, so the situation is heating up."

In equity markets, easyJet flew higher after it announced plans to cut about 4,500 jobs, or 30% of its workforce, as the airline prepares to restart flying with a smaller fleet and reduced demand as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. The company said booking trends on resumed flights are encouraging and demand for summer is increasing from a low base, while winter bookings are well ahead of a year earlier, including customers rebooking cancelled flights.

Cineworld surged as it said it had secured fresh funding from its lenders and that it expects to reopen cinemas in all territories by July.

Flexible office space provider IWG was a high riser after it raised £320m in a placing "to take advantage of growth opportunities and strengthen the group's global leadership position".

On the downside, Rolls-Royce slumped after AKO Capital sold 96.7m shares in the aerospace and defence giant via a bookbuild to institutional investors at 318p each.

Asia-focused Standard Chartered and HSBC were both in the red amid unrest in Hong Kong.

Elsewhere, Diageo was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'neutral' at Citi, while Signature Aviation was hit by a downgrade to 'sell' at Berenberg.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,185.24 0.67%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,286.64 0.83%
techMARK (TASX) 3,738.78 1.51%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,597.00p 5.87%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 125.55p 5.82%
M&G (MNG) 147.95p 5.68%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,555.00p 5.07%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,301.00p 4.58%
Fresnillo (FRES) 782.00p 4.16%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 8,308.00p 3.72%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,627.00p 3.58%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,696.00p 3.38%
Informa (INF) 478.40p 3.24%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 314.70p -9.07%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 391.40p -4.86%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 382.15p -3.64%
Centrica (CNA) 37.83p -3.64%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 241.40p -2.94%
WPP (WPP) 625.00p -2.47%
3i Group (III) 827.40p -2.18%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,640.00p -2.15%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 117.60p -2.12%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 397.10p -2.00%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Cineworld Group (CINE) 93.84p 21.43%
IWG (IWG) 301.00p 15.68%
Marston's (MARS) 62.20p 9.03%
Bodycote (BOY) 637.50p 7.96%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 54.70p 7.78%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 72.15p 7.77%
Greggs (GRG) 1,896.00p 6.16%
Unite Group (UTG) 873.00p 5.95%
Workspace Group (WKP) 761.00p 5.84%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 305.80p 5.81%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 504.00p -4.98%
G4S (GFS) 91.06p -4.85%
Signature Aviation (SIG) 242.30p -4.15%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 167.00p -4.02%
Trainline (TRN) 505.50p -3.99%
Capita (CPI) 36.32p -3.56%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 266.90p -3.44%
Provident Financial (PFG) 188.00p -3.29%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 136.20p -2.99%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 423.80p -2.98%


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