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London midday: Stocks tread water ahead of Sunak announcement

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 26 May 2022

London midday: Stocks tread water ahead of Sunak announcement

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were treading water by midday on Thursday as investors awaited an announcement form Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is expected to unveil a cost-of-living support package amid surging energy bills.
The FTSE 100 was up just 0.1% at 7,532.56.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "The FTSE 100 reacted with a shrug to a £10bn package from the UK Government to support households struggling with the cost of living.

"There were suggestions in some quarters this could add to inflationary pressures if the support is not sufficiently well targeted - it feels like governments and central banks are walking an increasingly narrow tightrope all the time.

"A windfall tax is widely expected to fund the package and energy firms were weak again this morning as they awaited the detail of Chancellor Rishi Sunak's plans with all the relish of a pupil facing a particularly tricky exam."

In equity markets, Intermediate Capital was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 after it said total full-year assets under management jumped 26% in what it called a "defining" year.

Auto Trader was also a high riser after the digital car sales platform said it had almost doubled annual profits as more customers spent online making purchases.

Government contractor Serco surged as it lifted its full-year guidance following better-than-expected trading in the first four months of the year.

FirstGroup rallied as the transport operator said it was evaluating a takeover offer from private equity firm I Square, which owns Irish energy supplier Energia.

On the downside, BT slumped as it emerged the government will examine French billionaire Patrick Drahi's stake 18% stake in the telecoms company amid concerns about national security.

United Utilities fell as it posted a drop in full-year underlying pre-tax profit and pledged not to increase average household bills for 2022/23 despite rapidly rising inflation.

Transact owner IntegraFin was sharply lower, with analysts pointing to a downbeat outlook in the company's first-half results.

Petrofac gushed lower after a disappointing update, in which it said it was experiencing near-term headwinds on some engineering, procurement and construction contracts.

Johnson Matthey lost ground after saying it expects its full-year operating performance to be in the lower half of the consensus range.

JD Sports was weaker again, having tumbled into the close on Wednesday after it took the market by surprise and announced the departure of executive Peter Cowgill.

Elsewhere, Imperial Brands, Intertek, Sage and RHI Magnesita were all in the red as they traded without entitlement to the dividend.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,532.56 0.13%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,043.78 0.55%
techMARK (TASX) 4,395.11 -0.03%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,587.00p 8.81%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 805.40p 4.65%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 437.70p 2.94%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,693.00p 2.57%
Abrdn (ABDN) 194.50p 2.45%
Next (NXT) 6,270.00p 2.32%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,210.00p 2.27%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 843.00p 2.01%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,600.50p 2.01%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 257.10p 1.70%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 107.65p -3.88%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,071.50p -3.69%
BT Group (BT.A) 183.75p -3.24%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,547.00p -2.88%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 5,570.00p -2.45%
SSE (SSE) 1,827.00p -2.17%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,807.50p -1.85%
National Grid (NG.) 1,204.50p -1.83%
Sage Group (SGE) 654.80p -1.68%
Severn Trent (SVT) 3,025.00p -1.50%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Serco Group (SRP) 166.90p 9.23%
FirstGroup (FGP) 128.70p 7.79%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 145.25p 4.76%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 258.40p 4.19%
AJ Bell (AJB) 265.80p 4.15%
Darktrace (DARK) 366.40p 4.00%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 637.60p 3.84%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 455.60p 3.83%
Mitie Group (MTO) 54.40p 3.42%
National Express Group (NEX) 270.60p 3.28%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

IntegraFin Holding (IHP) 299.60p -14.25%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,222.00p -5.49%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 146.70p -5.05%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,987.00p -2.67%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 2,360.00p -2.32%
Investec (INVP) 470.80p -2.28%
Britvic (BVIC) 816.00p -2.28%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 184.75p -1.89%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 84.42p -1.63%
ContourGlobal (GLO) 252.00p -1.56%


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