London close: Stocks boosted by Trump health report
Stocks in London finished higher on Monday, with traders apparently buying into the more upbeat news around the health of the US president and a second negative Covid-19 test result for his election rival.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.69% at 5,942.94, and the FTSE 250 was ahead 1.08% at 17,583.09.
Sterling was in a mixed state in afternoon trading, last rising 0.33% against the dollar to $1.2978, but falling 0.31% on the euro to €1.1008.
Talk of further stimulus on both sides of the Pond and comments from the Prime Minister that a Brexit deal should be doable also boosted risk appetite.
“With reports that Donald Trump could be discharged back to the White House by tonight, the markets continued to indulge in a presidential rebound this Monday,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
“Given that the day’s gains are predicated on the health of the president, it will be very interesting to see what happens if Trump isn’t actually discharged from hospital at some point this Monday.
“Similarly, if he is back at the White House by bedtime, its unclear quiet what investors will focus on in a fairly quiet week for data.”
Reports over the weekend initially led to some talk that Donald Trump's illness might be worse than what doctors were letting on to, but the most recent updates suggested he was doing better.
On Brexit, which traders said would be a key reference for markets over the coming week, Boris Johnson had told BBC's The Andrew Marr Show that a Brexit deal was "there to be done" and he hoped that Brussels would agree to a Canada-style agreement.
However, Johnson, who was speaking on the second day of the Tory conference, added that if the UK and the European Union failed to strike a deal then "we can more than live with it."
On the stimulus front, on Sunday, Johnson unveiled plans for a 'Generation Buy' programme to help young people get onto the housing ladder.
Across the pond meanwhile, during the previous session, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had indicated that Trump's illness might change the arithmetic and pave the way for a deal on another stimulus package.
Back on home shores, IHS Markit's services sector Purchasing Managers' Index for September was revised up to show a reading of 56.1, against a preliminary print of 55.1 and a reading of 58.8 for August.
In equity markets, Cineworld plunged 36.15% after saying it would temporarily suspend operations at all of its UK and US theatres from Thursday due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company cited an “increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures” adding that the move would hit 536 Regal theatres in the US and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK.
Greencore was down 6.68%, even after it said business had picked up in the fourth quarter with production fully restored at its site in Northampton.
The maker of sandwiches and other foods for supermarkets said annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would be about £85m after charging more than £10m for one-off Covid-19 costs.
On the upside, oilfield equipment and services outfit Weir Group added 15.9% after inking an agreement for the sale of its oil and gas unit to US-based Caterpillar for an enterprise value of £314m.
The company said the transaction continued its transformation into a premium mining technology 'pure play' with the new funds enhancing its flexibility to invest in future growth opportunities.
LXi REIT was ahead 2.22% after it reported “robust” rent collection of 97% to date for the September to December quarter, having been “actively engaged” with all of its tenants over the summer.
The FTSE 250 real estate investment trust said that as a result, it was further increasing its quarterly dividend guidance by 6% to 1.44p per share for the fourth quarter ending 31 December.
It said that dividend was expected to be fully covered by net rental income for the quarter.
Vodafone was 3.68% firmer after it emerged that the merger between its Indus Towers unit and Bharti Infratel was now set to proceed, after its lenders granted their consent for a 'security package' for the new company.
The package was meant to protect the new company should Vodafone Idea be unable to meet certain obligations under its Master Services Agreement.
That had been the condition set for the merger to proceed and the parties would now approach the National Company Law Tribunal to make the merger effective.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 123.40p 8.63%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 123.55p 5.92%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 107.68p 4.73%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 511.40p 4.13%
WPP (WPP) 648.60p 3.68%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 197.95p 3.63%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 1,031.00p 3.62%
Informa (INF) 400.10p 3.36%
Rightmove (RMV) 675.00p 3.05%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 957.60p 2.63%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,492.00p -2.35%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,690.00p -1.60%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,492.00p -1.35%
Pearson (PSON) 552.20p -1.11%
Evraz (EVR) 346.40p -1.03%
Pennon Group (PNN) 1,060.00p -1.03%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 888.00p -0.91%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 26.98p -0.77%
National Grid (NG.) 921.00p -0.60%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 6,406.00p -0.53%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,483.50p 15.90%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 275.20p 8.60%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 234.60p 8.01%
Provident Financial (PFG) 211.20p 7.81%
IWG (IWG) 283.40p 7.51%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 354.50p 7.42%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 258.40p 7.09%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 62.30p 6.64%
SDL (SDL) 682.00p 5.85%
Aggreko (AGK) 386.00p 5.41%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Cineworld Group (CINE) 25.61p -36.15%
Greencore Group (GNC) 95.00p -6.68%
888 Holdings (888) 254.00p -3.79%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 333.50p -3.33%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,455.00p -3.19%
Britvic (BVIC) 771.00p -2.90%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 391.80p -2.77%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 152.30p -2.71%
Indivior (INDV) 109.10p -2.68%
AJ Bell (AJB) 430.00p -2.49%