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London close: Stocks little changed amid light profit-taking

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Thursday 20 Jan 2022

London close: Stocks little changed amid light profit-taking

(Sharecast News) - London's top-flight index was little changed at the end of the session on Thursday amid light profit-taking and alongside a small advance for Sterling, although some analysts in the City said that news overnight that China had cut lending rates was well-received.
The FTSE 100 closed down by 0.06% at 7,585.01, although the second-tier index managed to add 0.26% to see the day out from 22,714.98.

"The pattern of the past few weeks has seen the UK's top index make gains while US stocks struggle, something that has become quite rare in recent years," IG chief market analyst, Chris Beauchamp, said.

"But that move has been reversed today, and for a second consecutive day the bevy of banks, miners and oil stocks that make up the index's heavyweights is falling back. The theme of money moving to value names from growth stocks has taken a bit of a knock today, but as with the bounce in the US it is not yet clear that today's reversal is going to turn into anything more sustained."

Overnight, China's central bank trimmed two key lending rates in a bid to bolster activity in the country's property sector and in order to help small businesses.

The People's Bank of China cut its one-year loan prime rate by 10 basis points from 3.8% to 3.7%, as expected by economists, and the five-year loan prime rate by five basis points from 4.65% to 4.60%.

The reduction in the 10-year rate was the first since April 2020 and although the market consensus had been for a larger reduction, it was the first time in 21 months that both lending rates were reduced simultaneously.

In UK equity markets, Associated British Foods fell after it said fourth-quarter sales at its Primark stores had been hit by the surge in Covid Omicron cases, but were now showing signs of recovery as it maintained full-year guidance.

Shell and BP gushed lower as oil prices fell, while Compass traded without entitlement to the dividend. Compass was also hit by a downgrade to 'hold' from 'buy' at Deutsche Bank.

On the upside, Rentokil was the top performer on the FTSE 100 throughout much of the session after Citi upgraded the shares to 'buy' from 'neutral', arguing that the proposed acquisition of US rival Terminix could propel the company into the number 1 slot in US pest control.

Consumer goods giant Unilever drifted lower despite saying late on Wednesday that it would not be lifting its £50bn offer for GlaxoSmithKline's consumer healthcare business. Glaxo lost ground.

Spirent Communications gained after lifting its full-year expectations for adjusted operating profit.

Premier Foods rose as it said full-year profit was set to be above market expectations after three strong quarters of trading and after the Mr Kipling brand enjoyed its "biggest ever" Christmas.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,585.01 -0.06%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,714.98 0.26%
techMARK (TASX) 4,520.78 0.60%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Pearson (PSON) 683.00p 3.48%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,154.00p 3.22%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,046.00p 2.82%
Fresnillo (FRES) 861.60p 2.67%
Prudential (PRU) 1,320.00p 2.60%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,910.50p 2.36%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,247.00p 2.34%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 390.50p 2.20%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 527.20p 2.17%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,964.50p 2.12%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,045.00p -4.18%
Royal Mail (RMG) 473.70p -3.62%
ITV (ITV) 115.60p -2.36%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 244.10p -2.20%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,633.60p -1.79%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,839.20p -1.72%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 52.68p -1.67%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,838.40p -1.66%
Glencore (GLEN) 412.50p -1.57%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 287.40p -1.44%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Spirent Communications (SPT) 251.20p 9.03%
Trainline (TRN) 262.80p 8.15%
Premier Foods (PFD) 118.60p 7.82%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 259.00p 6.72%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 321.50p 5.07%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 232.80p 4.96%
Darktrace (DARK) 436.40p 4.65%
UK Commercial Property Reit Limited (UKCM) 82.00p 4.33%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 836.00p 4.11%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 290.20p 3.94%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited C Shs NPV (SONC) 112.50p -100.00%
Safestore Holdings (SAFE) 1,237.00p -5.79%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 314.80p -4.26%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 944.40p -4.10%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 218.00p -3.54%
Petershill Partners (PHLL) 226.50p -3.41%
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 3,006.00p -3.16%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 197.40p -2.86%
Hilton Food Group (HFG) 1,084.00p -2.53%
Beazley (BEZ) 485.00p -2.26%

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