London midday: Stocks rise despite reports of delay to lockdown lifting
London stocks were still in the black by midday on Monday as investors took reports of a potential four-week delay to the lifting of England’s lockdown in their stride.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 7,168.71 having earlier hit a fresh post-pandemic high above 7,180.00 even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to announce later in the day that the lifting of lockdown - originally due to end on 21 June - will be pushed back by up to a month.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: "In the UK, the likelihood of an extension to the current lockdown restrictions is something which the market is expecting.
"Hospitality and travel stocks in particular have seen another downward lurch, with the additional complication of certain of the government assistance schemes also nearing an end. There is therefore likely to be something of a compromise along the way, as the government is likely to play the cautious health card ahead of completely letting the economy loose.
"In the meantime, economic recovery has been surprisingly robust. Unemployment and retail sales readings this week are both likely to show further improvement, while the inflation number may well have ticked higher following some bottlenecks in the supply chain."
In equity markets, Shell gushed higher following a report it is considering the sale of its Texas shale assets.
Tullow Oil and Cairn Energy were also trading up. IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said: "Despite ongoing restrictions to global travel, there is a growing belief that energy demand will outstrip supply as major firms are pushed by shareholders into shunning their traditional oil & gas business.
"Should that shareholder pressure drive down production levels, we could face a shortfall in supply as the world continues its drawn out transition away from carbon."
Serco rallied as the outsourcer lifted its full-year guidance, boosted by strong demand for test and trace services, and announced defence contract wins worth potentially £3.4bn.
On the downside, travel and leisure stocks retreated on reports of a delay to lockdown lifting, with British Airways parent IAG, engine maker Rolls-Royce, InterContinental Hotels, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, budget airlines easyJet and Wizz Air and pub group Wetherspoons all in the red.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,341.00p 2.27%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,390.20p 2.25%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,450.80p 2.14%
BT Group (BT.A) 195.55p 1.96%
Halma (HLMA) 2,786.00p 1.86%
Sage Group (SGE) 669.20p 1.64%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 552.80p 1.51%
BP (BP.) 328.95p 1.43%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 6,581.00p 1.39%
WPP (WPP) 1,009.00p 1.37%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 197.10p -3.00%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 108.72p -2.88%
Informa (INF) 532.40p -1.99%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,311.00p -1.95%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,639.00p -1.86%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,058.00p -1.21%
Fresnillo (FRES) 851.00p -1.12%
Royal Mail (RMG) 585.20p -0.85%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 167.55p -0.77%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,117.00p -0.64%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 64.60p 8.24%
Serco Group (SRP) 142.00p 4.64%
Volution Group (FAN) 411.00p 4.31%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 1,290.00p 3.53%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 26.18p 3.15%
Redde Northgate (REDD) 389.50p 2.77%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 209.40p 2.40%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,455.00p 2.39%
SSP Group (SSPG) 312.60p 2.39%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 2,014.00p 2.23%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Mitie Group (MTO) 74.00p -2.63%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 476.00p -2.36%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 387.80p -1.95%
Genuit Group (GEN) 634.00p -1.86%
easyJet (EZJ) 941.80p -1.73%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 176.60p -1.62%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 127.00p -1.55%
NCC Group (NCC) 299.00p -1.48%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,269.00p -1.48%
Quilter (QLT) 155.60p -1.27%