London close: Stocks manage gains amid continued Covid concerns
London stocks closed in positive territory on Tuesday, helped along by a strong showing from the likes of IAG and Rolls-Royce, although ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and the looming US stimulus deadline meant gains were unspectacular.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.08% at 5,889.22, and the FTSE 250 was 0.35% firmer at 17,929.20.
Sterling was in a mixed state at the end of the day, last gaining 0.03% on the dollar to trade at $1.2952, but losing 0.41% against the euro to €1.0955.
“With traders continuing to mentally juggle a whole raft of significant economic and political factors that continue to have a major bearing on market pricing, it comes as no surprise to find the FTSE 100 moving nowhere fast over the course of the week,” said IG senior market analyst Joshua Mahony.
“A breakdown in negotiations between local leaders and the government looks to have resulted in a fresh tier 3 lockdown in Manchester today.
“However, while many will feel aggrieved, Manchester is likely to be just one of many regions which will see huge economic suffering in response to a second-wave of infections.”
Mahony said the hope for a ‘V’ shaped recovery was disregarded some time ago, yet it was becoming increasingly evident that the recovery would be drawn-out and stop-start in nature.
“It is perhaps telling that the pound has managed to gain ground in a week which has seen increased restrictions in Wales, London and now Manchester.
“While Brexit negotiations remain some way from any breakthrough, Barnier’s plan to resume talks in London on Thursday does at least allow some dreamers to envisage some form of compromise despite previous failings.”
In equity markets, British Airways and Iberia parent IAG was 6.85% higher as Heathrow Airport launched a one-hour Covid-19 test.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce and GKN owner Melrose also pushed higher, by 3.18% and 3.47%, along with InterContinental Hotels and Premier Inn owner Whitbread, which were up 3.59% and 2.62%, respectively.
Fashion retailer Next was boosted 2.4% by an initiation at ‘overweight’ by Barclays.
Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser gave up some of its earlier gains but still finished 0.08% firmer, after lifting its full-year like-for-like net revenue guidance and posting a jump in third-quarter sales as the Covid-19 pandemic underpinned demand for its disinfection brands.
Group sales on a like-for-like basis rose 13.3% in the third quarter to £3.5bn and 12.4% in the year to date to £10.4bn.
Britvic fizzed 6.4% higher as it said adjusted profit for 2020 is expected to be slightly ahead of current market consensus after better-than-expected trading over the summer, as it announced a new and exclusive bottling agreement with PepsiCo.
On the downside, housebuilder Bellway retreated 2.66% after it slashed its dividend as annual profits fell by 66% due to the coronavirus shutdown, but said reservations had risen by a third at the start of the new financial year.
Other housebuilders followed suit, with Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments all lower, by 1.29%, 1.83% and 1.23%, respectively.
IT infrastructure and services provider Softcat slumped 7.49% after the release of its full-year results, while Trainline was 12.91% weaker after it said Clare Gilmartin will be stepping down as chief executive officer at the end of February 2021.
FTSE 100 - Risers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 106.85p 6.85%
Informa (INF) 436.90p 4.62%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 134.45p 3.74%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,330.00p 3.59%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 227.00p 3.18%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,304.00p 2.62%
SEGRO (SGRO) 937.80p 2.58%
Next (NXT) 6,314.00p 2.40%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,969.50p 2.31%
Kingfisher (KGF) 320.10p 2.17%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,380.50p -2.02%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 115.15p -1.83%
Avast (AVST) 513.00p -1.82%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,500.00p -1.73%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 9,750.00p -1.69%
Pearson (PSON) 527.80p -1.46%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 1,024.50p -1.44%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,207.00p -1.34%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,323.00p -1.19%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,380.20p -1.17%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cineworld Group (CINE) 28.40p 10.29%
Britvic (BVIC) 798.50p 6.40%
easyJet (EZJ) 521.40p 5.67%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 422.60p 5.39%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 3,454.00p 5.24%
AO World (AO.) 315.50p 5.17%
Greencore Group (GNC) 98.00p 5.09%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 846.00p 4.77%
LXI Reit (LXI) 111.00p 4.72%
Signature Aviation (SIG) 256.10p 4.66%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Trainline (TRN) 290.00p -12.91%
Gamesys Group (GYS) 1,210.00p -7.77%
Softcat (SCT) 1,148.00p -7.49%
Capita (CPI) 25.14p -5.13%
SDL (SDL) 692.00p -4.68%
Provident Financial (PFG) 205.20p -3.75%
Bellway (BWY) 2,530.00p -3.66%
IntegraFin Holding (IHP) 489.50p -3.45%
Sanne Group (SNN) 617.00p -3.29%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 767.00p -2.31%