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London close: Stocks mixed as investors look to Europe summit

By Josh White

Date: Wednesday 14 Oct 2020

London close: Stocks mixed as investors look to Europe summit

(Sharecast News) - London stocks closed in a mixed state on Wednesday as the pound recovered from earlier losses, amid ongoing concerns about the prospect of tighter lockdown restrictions.


The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.58% at 5,935.06, while the FTSE 250 rose 0.33% to 17,950.41.

Sterling was in a stronger position, last advancing 0.73% against the dollar to trade at $1.3031, and gaining 0.59% on the euro to €1.1079.

"The positive move in the pound has put pressure on the FTSE 100," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The international nature of some of the big components in the index means that a rally in sterling tends to hurt stocks like Diageo, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Burberry as they derive a relatively large amount of their revenue from overseas.

The health crisis is a growing concern, and there are fears about tighter restrictions."

Brexit was atop the agenda for much of the session, with Boris Johnson holding a call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later in the day, ahead of a two-day meeting of the European Council at the end of the week.

According to draft conclusions seen by Bloomberg, European Union leaders meeting in Brussels this week will say that "progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached".

Analysts at IG said that there were hopes that an agreement would have been struck ahead of the summit, so that member states could deliberate.

"The [earlier] decline in sterling highlights the feeling that while negotiations are underway in name, the outcome always appears to be the same despite the impending deadlines.

"However, there is a feeling that something has to give, and with this critical summit ahead of us, today could provide fireworks if both sides decide to finally cede ground in a bid to start the sprint towards the finish line."

Analyst Joshua Mahony said the big question is where now for the UK economy.

"The lack of any major progress in Brexit talks, coupled with a rise in unemployment, do little to inspire confidence going forward."

Investors were also digesting news that Eli Lilly has paused a monoclonal antibody trial to treat coronavirus, a day after Johnson & Johnson paused its vaccine trials.

In equity markets, banks retreated, with Asia-focused Standard Chartered and HSBC under pressure, falling 4.48l7% and 2.82%, respectively.

Transport operator FirstGroup was knocked 8.72% lower by a downgrade to 'hold' at HSBC.

Stocks with exposure to the pandemic and related restrictions were under the cosh again, with Premier Inn owner Whitbread down 1.23% and InterContinental Hotels 0.75% lower.

On the FTSE 250, Cineworld was off 4.42%, Upper Crust owner SSP slipped 0.11%, cruise operator Carnival was down 0.37%, and pub chain Mitchells & Butlers was 3.65% weaker.

On the upside, Just Eat Takeaway was in the black by 6.36%, after the food-ordering firm reported a 46% year-on-year rise in orders during the third quarter, driven by continuing coronavirus curbs.

Distribution and services group Bunzl rallied 1.96% after it reported a rise in third-quarter revenue thanks to the sale of Covid-19 related products and said second-half revenue was expected to grow strongly.

Barratt Developments gained 1.73% after saying it continued to see strong demand for homes after the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures in June with an increase in its sales rate from July 1 to October 11.

Ashmore was up 7.71% after it said assets under management rose 2.3% in the first quarter.

Kainos surged 21.27% after the company upgraded its full-year expectations, while Synthomer racked up gains of 16.64% after the chemicals business lifted its full-year earnings guidance and reinstated its dividend.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,935.06 -0.58%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,950.41 0.33%
techMARK (TASX) 3,832.09 -0.66%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 9,404.00p 6.36%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,770.00p 2.58%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 312.00p 2.40%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,357.50p 2.26%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 800.60p 2.14%
M&G (MNG) 166.40p 2.12%
DCC (DCC) 5,500.00p 2.08%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,603.00p 1.96%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 110.85p 1.79%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 119.55p 1.79%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Standard Chartered (STAN) 354.80p -4.47%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,190.00p -3.15%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 296.60p -2.82%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,187.50p -2.26%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 109.76p -2.00%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,798.50p -1.78%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,666.00p -1.77%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,420.00p -1.71%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 180.00p -1.69%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,453.00p -1.66%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,338.00p 31.18%
Synthomer (SYNT) 388.40p 16.64%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 391.00p 7.71%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 9,404.00p 6.36%
Just Group (JUST) 44.84p 4.96%
ITV (ITV) 75.42p 3.12%
Spectris (SXS) 2,673.00p 3.05%
WH Smith (SMWH) 990.00p 3.02%
Ibstock (IBST) 164.00p 2.95%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 156.40p 2.89%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

FirstGroup (FGP) 48.38p -8.72%
Capita (CPI) 27.92p -5.39%
Greggs (GRG) 1,301.00p -4.48%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 27.00p -4.42%
Indivior (INDV) 105.80p -4.25%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 132.00p -3.65%
Coats Group (COA) 56.80p -3.57%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 251.00p -3.42%
IP Group (IPO) 82.10p -3.41%
BMO Commercial Property Trust Limited (BCPT) 63.40p -3.35%

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