London close: Stocks tick higher as investors eye rate decisions
London stocks shook off earlier losses to end higher on Monday, but gains were unspectacular as investors eyed a series of key central bank rate announcements this week.
The FTSE 100 closed up 0.3% at 7,784.87.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: "The FTSE 100 has pushed back into positive territory after a drop on the open, while in the US stocks have endured a shaky start.
"A glance at the calendar for the week would be enough to deter all but the most swashbuckling of investors from taking new positions, so it is hardly surprising to see some of the recent bullishness fade away. Investors will have a better idea (we hope) about the outlook once the central bank decisions, job numbers and earnings reports are in the bag."
In equity markets, Sainsbury’s was the standout gainer on the top-flight index. CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said the shares were up "on reports over the weekend that Bestway, despite its denials that it was looking at an acquisition last week, may well be looking to do exactly that".
"It’s important to remember that the hurdles to an acquisition remain quite high given that they would have to convince the two largest shareholders of Qatar and Vesa Investments of the merits of any deal," he added.
Computacenter rallied after it said annual results would be slightly ahead of expectations following a record fourth quarter.
Consumer goods giant Unilever advanced after announcing the appointment of Hein Schumacher as its new chief executive officer. Hein, who is currently CEO of the global dairy and nutrition business Royal FrieslandCampina, became a non-executive director of Unilever in October last year.
Auto Trader and Moneysupermarket were both in the back after upgrades to ‘overweight’ at Barclays.
On the downside, Legal & General fell after it said that Sir Nigel Wilson is planning to retire after more than a decade as chief executive.
Gambling group 888 tanked as it announced the departure of its chief executive, and said it was suspending some VIP accounts in the Middle East pending the outcome of an internal compliance investigation. Just weeks after announcing that chief financial officer Yariv Dafna had "mutually agreed" to step down from the business, 888 announced that CEO Itai Pazner is stepping down with immediate effect.
Cyber security firm Darktrace was under the cosh after Quintessential Capital Management reported a net short position of 6.18m shares, or 0.86% of the company's stock as of 27 January.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,784.87 0.25%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,937.20 -0.49%
techMARK (TASX) 4,459.39 0.71%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 262.80p 4.08%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 621.20p 2.78%
Kingfisher (KGF) 279.10p 2.61%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 5,726.00p 2.54%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 451.50p 2.06%
Halma (HLMA) 2,154.00p 1.84%
Experian (EXPN) 2,944.00p 1.69%
Sage Group (SGE) 773.80p 1.34%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,072.00p 1.27%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 780.00p 1.17%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 688.00p -3.45%
Fresnillo (FRES) 836.40p -2.65%
Prudential (PRU) 1,342.50p -2.11%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 752.40p -1.90%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 256.00p -1.84%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 457.40p -1.82%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,733.00p -1.81%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 116.70p -1.77%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,422.00p -1.49%
BT Group (BT.A) 128.00p -1.46%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Computacenter (CCC) 2,218.00p 11.35%
ASOS (ASC) 875.00p 7.96%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 154.20p 4.61%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 166.40p 3.35%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 156.00p 3.27%
Senior (SNR) 154.20p 2.66%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 233.40p 2.64%
Clarkson (CKN) 3,025.00p 2.37%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 850.00p 2.16%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 149.60p 2.05%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
888 Holdings (DI) (888) 74.85p -27.47%
Darktrace (DARK) 220.00p -12.63%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 160.70p -5.19%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 170.95p -4.76%
Energean (ENOG) 1,171.00p -3.70%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 698.00p -3.59%
Bellway (BWY) 2,120.00p -3.55%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 115.80p -3.50%
Redrow (RDW) 522.50p -3.42%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 36.90p -3.30%