London close: Stocks weaker amid concern over Indian variant
London stocks closed in negative territory on Monday, as worries about the Indian variant offset cheer over the easing of Covid-related restrictions in England.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.15% at 7,032.85, and the FTSE 250 was 0.55% weaker at 22,214.14.
Sterling was in the green, however, last trading 0.24% stronger against the dollar at $1.4131, and gaining 0.16% on the euro to €1.1627.
“It’s been a cautious and subdued start to the week for markets in Europe, on disappointment over the latest China data, and new restrictions being imposed in parts of Asia prompting a little bit of caution amongst global investors,” said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.
“With the UK embarking on the next stage of its economic reopening, travel and leisure stocks have had a disappointing day with the likes of easyJet and IAG slipping back, along with Ryanair shares after the airline posted a record annual loss.”
Investors were earlier mulling the latest data out of China, which showed that industrial production growth slowed as expected in April but retail sales disappointed, suggesting the world's second-biggest recovery was facing a bumpier recovery path.
In equity markets, engine maker Rolls-Royce was down 4.33% as Deutsche Bank said in a note that achieving the company's guidance for the 2021 financial year "looks a bit daunting".
Vistry reversed earlier gains to fall 0.69%, even after the housebuilder lifted its full-year profit expectations thanks to "strong" demand across the business.
Budget airline Ryanair also reversed its fortunes from earlier in the day, falling 2.37% after reporting a record annual post-tax loss of €815m as passenger numbers plunged due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but said there were signs the recovery had begun.
On the upside, precious metals miners Polymetal, Centamin and Hochschild advanced 2.94%, 3.11% and 4.73% respectively, as gold prices rose.
Diploma rallied 6.98% after saying annual results are set to be "significantly ahead" of expectations as the technical equipment supplier reported an increase in first-half profit and said momentum had increased in the second half.
Drax was lifted 1.12% by an upgrade to ‘buy’ from ’neutral’ at Citi.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 915.80p 3.46%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,646.00p 2.94%
BT Group (BT.A) 166.20p 2.78%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 6,280.00p 2.28%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 264.50p 2.12%
Evraz (EVR) 675.80p 1.29%
BHP Group (BHP) 2,246.00p 1.06%
Anglo American (AAL) 3,297.50p 0.95%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 565.40p 0.89%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 6,112.00p 0.76%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 102.98p -4.33%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,702.00p -4.30%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 189.68p -3.67%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,090.00p -2.99%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,836.50p -2.88%
Informa (INF) 548.60p -2.21%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,701.50p -2.08%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,540.00p -2.04%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,876.00p -2.03%
Renishaw (RSW) 5,385.00p -1.92%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Diploma (DPLM) 2,938.00p 6.98%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 197.10p 4.73%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 724.00p 3.85%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 121.00p 3.11%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 25.84p 2.62%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 669.00p 2.61%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 169.80p 2.54%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 486.00p 2.53%
Genuit Group (GEN) 555.00p 1.85%
FirstGroup (FGP) 80.50p 1.45%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Restaurant Group (RTN) 120.60p -6.69%
Trainline (TRN) 416.00p -5.41%
SSP Group (SSPG) 307.60p -4.71%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,649.50p -4.43%
Energean (ENOG) 821.00p -4.39%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 412.40p -3.60%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,312.00p -3.25%
Countryside Properties (CSP) 498.00p -2.92%
easyJet (EZJ) 985.80p -2.83%
Beazley (BEZ) 303.30p -2.82%