London close: Banks, commodities help FTSE book weekly gain

Fri 08 Apr 2022

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks closed well above the waterline on Friday, locking in gains for the week as banks and commodity plays underpinned the top-flight index.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.56% at 7,669.56, and the FTSE 250 was ahead 0.65% at 21,174.32.

Sterling was in the red, meanwhile, to last trade down 0.34% on the dollar at $1.3031, and weakening 0.31% against the euro to change hands at €1.1983.

"The FTSE 100's resilience is a welcome relief for UK investors," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"The index has bounced back from Thursday's ex-dividend driven fall, and with mining stocks leading the way it is back on course for the recent highs."

Beauchamp said European markets were generally doing well, recouping some losses, but with the outlook so uncertain amid red-hot inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the optimism was unlikely to last.

"Next week's European Central Bank meeting will give investors more of a clue on how the central bank is looking at policy, even if no rate hikes are expected."

On the economic front, a survey released earlier showed UK starting salaries rising at a record pace in March, although hiring slowed.

The survey from KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation found that growth in hiring activity eased as candidate shortages restricted growth in both permanent placings and temporary billings.

However, the rate of hiring remained high by historical standards, amid increasing demand for staff.

The survey also found that average UK salaries rose at their fastest pace since records began in 1997.

"We can clearly see that labour and skills shortages are driving inflation in these latest figures," said REC chief executive Neil Carberry.

"Starting salaries for permanent staff are growing at a new record pace, partially due to demand for staff accelerating and partially as firms increase pay for all staff in the face of rising prices."

Claire Warnes, head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG, added that there was "no end in sight" to the "deep-seated workforce challenges" facing the UK economy.

"Once again this month, job vacancies are increasing while there are simply not enough candidates in all sectors to fill them.

"With fewer EU workers, the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the economic impacts of the war in Ukraine and cost-of-living pressures, many employers will continue to struggle to hire the talent and access the skills they need."

In equity markets, banks were in the green, with Standard Chartered up 2.99%, Barclays rising 2.86%, Lloyds Banking Group managing gains of 0.56%, and HSBC Holdings 1.65% firmer.

Vodafone Group was ahead 1.92% following reports it was among the potential suitors for broadband provider TalkTalk.

Ukraine-based iron ore pellets exporter Ferrexpo jumped 10.79% after it said pellet production in the first quarter of 2022 of 2.7 million tonnes was in line with the same period a year ago, and down 11% on the previous quarter.

House broker Liberum said the production figures implied Ferrexpo was operating at 70% capacity during March.

It said operations "admirably" continued despite "horrific conditions" in Ukraine, while Peel Hunt said the production update was "surprisingly strong".

Online trading platform CMC Markets rallied 12.84% after it said full-year net operating income was set to be at the top end of guidance.

Countryside Partnerships was ahead 9.66%, having tumbled on Thursday after it warned of a fall in annual profit, and published a damning review of its own operations.

The company said it expanded too quickly and botched the acquisition of Westleigh in 2018, while project delays, poor workmanship and rising costs also affected the group at some sites.

On the downside, inspection, product testing and certification group Intertek Group was down 3.01% after HSBC downgraded its recommendation on the shares to 'hold' from 'buy' and slashed the price target to 5,700p from 6,500p.

"Whilst Intertek's medium-term prospects are attractive, we think that second half demand for the trade division might be negatively impacted by higher petrochemical prices, " HSBC said.

"We think the risk-reward balance for Intertek is less attractive compared to other opportunities in the sector."

Mondi was 0.91% weaker after a downgrade to 'equalweight' at Morgan Stanley.

888 Holdings was off 6.33%, having rallied on Thursday after it said that it had agreed with Caesars Entertainment to cut the deal value of William Hill's international assets, amid tougher economic and regulatory conditions.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,669.56 1.56%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,174.32 0.65%
techMARK (TASX) 4,413.52 0.76%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Anglo American (AAL) 4,170.50p 4.84%
Shell (SHEL) 2,168.00p 3.93%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 3,015.50p 3.87%
BP (BP.) 391.50p 3.74%
Next (NXT) 6,034.00p 3.39%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,969.00p 3.14%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 509.20p 2.99%
Barclays (BARC) 144.60p 2.86%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,414.50p 2.84%
Glencore (GLEN) 528.00p 2.58%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 4,136.00p -3.18%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,160.00p -3.01%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 12,635.00p -2.19%
Severn Trent (SVT) 3,108.00p -1.32%
Halma (HLMA) 2,532.00p -1.25%
SEGRO (SGRO) 1,375.50p -0.97%
Croda International (CRDA) 7,904.00p -0.93%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,407.00p -0.91%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,895.00p -0.83%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 644.20p -0.80%

FTSE 250 - Risers

CMC Markets (CMCX) 272.50p 12.84%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 185.80p 10.79%
Countryside Partnerships (CSP) 261.00p 9.66%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 154.80p 5.02%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 241.60p 4.41%
Hays (HAS) 120.40p 4.06%
Biffa (BIFF) 317.40p 4.00%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 220.20p 3.87%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 1,965.00p 3.72%
Grafton Group Ut (CDI) (GFTU) 1,015.00p 3.36%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

888 Holdings (888) 210.00p -6.33%
International Public Partnerships Ltd. (INPP) 164.40p -3.75%
NCC Group (NCC) 190.40p -3.45%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 252.40p -3.44%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,444.00p -2.83%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 234.60p -2.49%
Softcat (SCT) 1,551.00p -1.89%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 1,038.00p -1.70% Group (MONY) 173.60p -1.64%
HGCapital Trust (HGT) 423.00p -1.63%
Archived Stories

15 Aug London close: Stocks squeeze out a positive finish after Chinese data
12 Aug London close: Stocks higher ahead of key data next week
11 Aug London close: Ex-dividends weigh down afternoon trading
10 Aug London close: Stocks strengthen as US inflation comes in below forecasts
09 Aug London close: Stocks mixed amid energy concerns, US CPI fears