London close: Stocks finish mixed after decent week
London stocks finished in a mixed state on Friday as the recent rally lost steam, but the top-flight index still managed to finish almost 180 points higher than it did in the prior week.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.38% at 6,915.75, while the FTSE 250 eked out gains of 0.02% to 22,251.26.
Sterling was a mixed picture as well, last falling 0.04% against the dollar to $1.3729, but strengthening 0.1% on the euro to €1.1541.
It was the end of a decent week for London’s bourse, with the FTSE 250 reaching new record highs and the FTSE 100 moving above its early year peaks in January.
“Today’s price action has seen a fairly low-key end to the week, characterised by some light profit taking ahead of the weekend, as the UK gears up for the reopening of non-essential retail stores, and pubs and restaurants outdoors next week,” said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.
“We’ve some modest weakness in travel and leisure stocks as it becomes apparent that a return to normal travel wise is likely to face significant barriers in the short term.
“The announcement of a new traffic light system for overseas travel which is set to start in May will in all likelihood mean that anyone contemplating a holiday in Europe may well not be able to do so, due to the low vaccination rates there.”
Hewson said that as things stood, the only country on the green list was Israel, with the likes of France, Italy and Spain “well short” of being added.
“While being on the green list is preferable that doesn’t mean that there won’t be associated costs in order to travel.
“Travelling abroad will still require a negative test before you leave, and another test on the return to the UK.
“Countries on an amber list will require returning passengers to quarantine for 10 days, as well as be subject to testing.”
In equity markets, JD Sports Fashion leapt 5.11% after Berenberg said it was its "top pick" in consumer discretionary.
“We think JD is hugely underestimated as a reopening trade, and we see significant upside risk to consensus forecasts from pent-up demand coupled with attractive M&A optionality," it said, adding that the shares looked cheap.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group was 1.41% higher despite saying it could face extra non-cash impairments of at least £200m due to "almost certain" further Covid-19 restrictions.
PageGroup surged 10.89% after the recruiter said improving trading made it more confident about the outlook and reported a 2% increase in first-quarter profit.
Peer Hays was also on the front foot, closing the session ahead 2.53%.
On the downside, tour operator TUI slumped 2.06% after the travel company said it was raising up to €400m (£348m) by selling convertible bonds to strengthen its finances during continuing travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
British American Tobacco was knocked 2.54% lower by a downgrade to ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan, while BAE Systems slid 2.24% after a downgrade to ‘neutral’ at Exane.
Babcock International was 1.56% weaker, after the Financial Times reported that the defence contractor was bracing for a large asset write down.
FTSE 100 - Risers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 917.00p 5.11%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 12,245.00p 2.43%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,854.00p 2.18%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 190.05p 1.88%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,044.00p 1.74%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 794.60p 1.72%
Kingfisher (KGF) 343.90p 1.69%
Persimmon (PSN) 3,215.00p 1.42%
Croda International (CRDA) 6,612.00p 1.38%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,634.00p 1.33%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,786.00p -2.54%
BAE Systems (BA.) 515.80p -2.24%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 210.15p -2.05%
Glencore (GLEN) 288.70p -1.90%
Entain (ENT) 1,566.50p -1.85%
Fresnillo (FRES) 894.40p -1.84%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,673.00p -1.60%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,463.00p -1.46%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 497.30p -1.41%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,558.50p -1.39%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Pagegroup (PAGE) 555.00p 10.89%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 2,875.00p 6.28%
Future (FUTR) 2,190.00p 4.29%
Herald Investment Trust (HRI) 2,310.00p 4.05%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,650.00p 3.19%
Hilton Food Group (HFG) 1,234.00p 3.18%
Softcat (SCT) 1,945.00p 2.86%
Impax Environmental Markets (IEM) 478.50p 2.78%
Hays (HAS) 162.20p 2.53%
Computacenter (CCC) 2,570.00p 2.47%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,375.00p -7.59%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 364.20p -5.70%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 120.20p -5.58%
SSP Group (SSPG) 321.40p -5.28%
Rank Group (RNK) 195.20p -3.84%
Hammerson (HMSO) 37.38p -2.91%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 435.00p -2.82%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 1,972.00p -2.81%
FirstGroup (FGP) 94.60p -2.62%
National Express Group (NEX) 309.40p -2.53%