ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Monday 15 February 2021

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London open: Stocks rally on vaccine hopes, as Nikkei hits 30-year high

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London stocks rallied in early trade on Monday, taking their cue from a positive session in Asia, amid optimism over the vaccine rollout.

At 0915 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 1.2% at 6,665.50, with sentiment boosted after Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged past the 30,000 level for the first time in more than 30 years.

Meanwhile, sterling was up 0.3% against the dollar at 1.3895.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “Government attempts to manage expectations on Covid better are helpful to the market which is now probably pleasantly surprised at just how quickly the UK has vaccinated the most vulnerable sections of its population.

“This is making it easier for investors to look through to a reopening of the economy even if the pace at which restrictions are eased remains a topic of fierce debate.

“Positive news for the UK is often a double-edged sword for the FTSE as it boosts the pound and thereby crimps the relative value of the overseas earnings which dominate the index.

“However, as this morning’s trading demonstrates, with sterling and the FTSE 100 both higher, an improved economic outlook domestically should still provide support to the UK’s flagship stock index.”

In equity markets, engine maker Rolls-Royce gained after saying it has hired former Deloitte partner Panos Kakoullis as chief financial officer to help steer the company through the crisis in the aviation industry.

Mitchells & Butlers was on the rise after saying it plans to raise £350m through an open offer and had also reached agreement with its banks for a new £150m three-year year unsecured revolving credit facility to bolster its balance sheet.

Travel and leisure stocks more generally were in the black amid hopes that the swift vaccine rollout will bring a return to more normal life by spring. Premier Inn owner Whitbread, caterer Compass Group, British Airways owner IAGTUIeasyJetCineworld and WH Smith were all higher.

Banks were also on the front foot, with BarclaysNatWest and Lloyds all firmer.

Elsewhere, Auto Trader was lifted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Peel Hunt.

On the downside, dollar-earners were under pressure as sterling advanced, with GlaxoSmithKlineAstraZenecaExperian and Unilever all weaker.

Moneysupermarket was knocked lower by a downgrade to ‘hold’ at Liberum.

 

Top 10 FTSE 100 Risers

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# Name Change Pct Change Cur Price
1 Tui Ag +5.93% +18.80 335.80
2 Easyjet Plc +5.67% +43.40 808.80
3 Barclays Plc +5.15% +7.52 153.42
4 International Consolidated Airlines Group S.a. +4.68% +7.00 156.45
5 Whitbread Plc +4.43% +142.00 3,349.00
6 Marks And Spencer Group Plc +4.41% +5.75 136.10
7 Compass Group Plc +4.26% +60.00 1,469.50
8 Anglo American Plc +4.17% +111.00 2,774.00
9 Bhp Group Plc +3.61% +76.50 2,194.00
10 Informa Plc +3.43% +17.40 525.40

 

Top 10 FTSE 100 Fallers

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# Name Change Pct Change Cur Price
1 Micro Focus International Plc -0.96% -4.50 462.00
2 Astrazeneca Plc -0.91% -68.00 7,403.00
3 Relx Plc -0.67% -12.50 1,854.00
4 Glaxosmithkline Plc -0.63% -8.00 1,270.00
5 Coca-cola Hbc Ag -0.51% -12.00 2,363.00
6 Experian Plc -0.49% -13.00 2,625.00
7 Hiscox Ltd -0.35% -3.40 978.40
8 Croda International Plc -0.33% -22.00 6,578.00
9 Segro Plc -0.25% -2.40 965.60
10 Bunzl Plc -0.21% -5.00 2,338.00

 

Monday newspaper round-up: Lockdown easing, Woodford, EY

An influential group of MPs has urged the government to spell out the impact its lockdown-easing measures would have on economic growth and the number of coronavirus infections. Calling for evidence to be published alongside the government’s reopening road map to be announced on 22 February, the Treasury select committee said it would help the public to better understand the implications of restrictions and the costs and benefits of making changes. – Guardian

Neil Woodford has announced plans for a new investment business and issued a public apology over the implosion of his last venture less than two years ago following a string of bets that went wrong. In one of the most dramatic attempts at a boardroom comeback in recent history, the former star fund manager said he planned to open a new firm – WCM Partners – which would be based in Jersey and Buckinghamshire. – Guardian

Big Four accountant EY is facing whistleblowing claims in China over its audit of a major business in a fresh blow for the battered industry. The firm is accused of looking the other way when large client Xinwei Group failed to disclose a risky stock purchase, according to claims circulating on Chinese social media site Weibo. – Telegraph

Consumers face paying for significantly more back-up power stations than planned next winter after National Grid warned that many plants were expected to renege on multimillion-pound contracts to keep the lights on. The government’s “capacity market” scheme is intended to guard against the risk of blackouts as Britain builds more wind and solar farms by ensuring there are enough plants to meet demand even on dark, windless winter evenings. – The Times

 

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