London close: Stocks finish green on relatively quiet Thursday
London stocks closed above the waterline on Thursday amid fairly quiet trade, with US markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.33% at 7,310.37, and the FTSE 250 was ahead 0.49% at 23,279.96.
Sterling was in the red, meanwhile, last trading down 0.06% on the dollar at $1.3320, and sliding 0.17% from the euro to €1.1880.
“European markets have enjoyed a relatively upbeat day today, with the lack of US involvement reducing volatility into the close,” said IG senior market analyst Joshua Mahony.
“While rising Covid cases remain a key concern for mainland European economies, we have seen the likes of the DAX and CAC both gain ground.
“Just as many countries struggle to keep a lid on Covid cases, a new strain has emerged in South Africa to bring another potential concern for investors down the line.”
Mahony noted that European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen had implored nations to step-up vaccination efforts in the face of rising cases, with France the latest country to escalate rules in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus.
“While the French move to make mask wearing mandatory at indoor venues does highlight the risk posed by rising cases, the outperformance of the CAC provides a vote of confidence in a policy that many hope will help to stave off a wider lockdown.”
On the economic front, retail sales were at their strongest level for this time of year in November, according to the latest survey from the Confederation of British Industry.
The CBI’s monthly retail sales balance rose to a three-month high of +39 from +30 in October and is expected to pick up again in December.
Analysts had been expecting a balance of +33.
However, the survey also found that selling prices grew at the fastest pace since May 1990 and are expected to rise at a broadly similar pace next month.
“Christmas seems to have come early for retailers, with clothing and department stores in particular seeing a big upward swing in sales volumes in November,” said CBI lead economist Ben Jones.
“It seems likely that reports of supply chain disruptions prompted consumers to start their Christmas shopping early.
“And there are encouraging signs that retailers’ efforts to help avoid any festive disappointments may be paying off, with stock levels seen as adequate for the first time in seven months.”
Jones said that overall, retailers were becoming more optimistic, with both employment growth and investment intentions picking up strongly.
“Cost pressures remain a very real concern, however, with selling prices growing at the fastest pace since 1990.”
In equity markets, Hochschild Mining surged 14.1% after the Peruvian government u-turned on a decision to close the company’s mines if legal requirements were met.
Investors dumped the stock on Monday after Lima said four mines in Peru’s southern Ayacucho region, which included Hochschild’s flagship Inmaculada operation, would be closed as soon as possible.
However, it quickly switched tack on Wednesday after talks with the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy.
InterContinental Hotels and Whitbread were both in positive territory, rising 2.63% and 3.24% respectively, after rating upgrades at Jefferies.
Vivo Energy shot 18.67%m higher after agreeing to be taken over by Vitol Investment in a deal worth around $2.3bn.
Outsourcer Capita was lifted 9.64% by an upgrade to ‘outperform’ at RBC Capital Markets, while Britvic was boosted 3.33% by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Societe Generale.
Pub chain Mitchells & Butlers was in the black by 3.56% after it returned to profit following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, but it warned that rising energy costs and wages would affect its results in the current year.
On the downside, Renishaw and Spectris were both knocked lower by rating downgrades at Morgan Stanley, losing 4.84% and 1.91% respectively.
Hill & Smith lost 8.57% even after saying it expects annual profit to meet market expectations after "robust" trading in the previous four months.
Vodafone was down 3.12% and CMC Markets lost 2.07%, as they both traded without entitlement to the dividend.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Compass Group (CPG) 1,582.00p 3.19%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,108.00p 2.78%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,042.00p 2.75%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 765.80p 2.46%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,593.00p 2.32%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,303.00p 2.22%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 6,282.00p 2.14%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,500.00p 1.90%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 136.80p 1.87%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,491.00p 1.80%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 113.94p -3.12%
Rightmove (RMV) 740.20p -2.14%
Darktrace (DARK) 479.60p -1.92%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,593.50p -1.42%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,745.00p -1.41%
Evraz (EVR) 586.40p -1.31%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,657.50p -1.06%
Kingfisher (KGF) 325.40p -0.91%
Prudential (PRU) 1,419.50p -0.80%
Glencore (GLEN) 371.20p -0.80%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Vivo Energy (VVO) 132.00p 18.49%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 139.40p 14.26%
Capita (CPI) 48.68p 9.64%
Trainline (TRN) 289.80p 5.84%
Genus (GNS) 4,974.00p 5.25%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 406.20p 5.21%
National Express Group (NEX) 226.60p 4.81%
Hammerson (HMSO) 32.38p 3.96%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 317.10p 3.90%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 221.80p 3.84%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,706.00p -8.57%
Renishaw (RSW) 4,754.00p -4.84%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 225.50p -3.85%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 237.50p -3.48%
Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 103.80p -2.81%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,795.00p -2.45%
Contour Global (GLO) 186.40p -2.20%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 973.00p -2.11%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 52.56p -2.08%
Spectris (SXS) 3,601.00p -1.91%