London midday: Stocks tick higher but gains limited amid vaccine woes
London stocks had ticked a little higher by midday on Wednesday but gains were unspectacular as investors continued to fret about the vaccine rollout in Europe after the Johnson & Johnson jab was suspended due to blood clot concerns.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 6,900.70, with miners providing some support.
IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said markets are treading water as rising US inflation and stuttering vaccination efforts in mainland Europe dent sentiment.
"Rising inflation in the US should serve as a timely reminder that we could be due a sharp surge in prices as companies seek to regain lost revenues upon reopening. However, with the Fed seemingly willing to overlook an apparently transitory period of above target inflation, the average inflation targeting policy could finally get a run out in the months ahead," he said.
"The European Commission have apparently decided against renewing the vaccination contracts with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson when they run out, highlighting the risk of a slower paced vaccination programme as regulators strike off treatments with any serious side effects."
In equity markets, miners were the standout gainers, with Antofagasta, Glencore and Anglo American all firmer.
QinetiQ surged as it said annual results are set to beat market expectations after a strong fourth quarter.
EasyJet flew higher after saying its headline pre-tax losses for the first half will come in slightly better than analysts’ expectations thanks to cost-cutting, and that it anticipates a pick-up in passenger numbers from late May.
On the downside, Tesco slid after it reported an unchanged annual dividend and a 20% drop in annual profit after Covid-19 costs outweighed higher revenue.
Airtel Africa tumbled after an unnamed institutional seller sold a 1.3% stake in the telecommunications company in a placing. The seller placed 50m shares in Airtel at 75p each.
In broker note action, Tullow Oil and Glencore were boosted by rating upgrades at HSBC and Goldman Sachs, respectively, while Restaurant Group was knocked lower by a downgrade at JPMorgan.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,771.00p 2.64%
Glencore (GLEN) 294.05p 2.49%
Anglo American (AAL) 3,116.00p 2.13%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,099.00p 1.84%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,956.00p 1.29%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,172.00p 1.25%
Evraz (EVR) 618.80p 1.21%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,714.00p 1.21%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,248.00p 1.13%
BAE Systems (BA.) 508.20p 1.11%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tesco (TSCO) 225.60p -2.80%
Ferguson (FERG) 9,066.00p -1.56%
BT Group (BT.A) 148.45p -1.56%
Kingfisher (KGF) 335.30p -1.56%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,523.00p -1.40%
Persimmon (PSN) 3,138.00p -1.20%
Next (NXT) 8,002.00p -1.19%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 240.10p -1.11%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 404.10p -1.08%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 776.60p -1.04%
FTSE 250 - Risers
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 347.20p 8.16%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 47.04p 3.66%
easyJet (EZJ) 951.60p 2.99%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 311.00p 2.98%
Chemring Group (CHG) 282.50p 2.73%
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 459.80p 2.27%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 385.10p 2.26%
Hammerson (HMSO) 37.31p 2.25%
Ascential (ASCL) 351.20p 2.09%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 276.00p 1.85%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Airtel Africa (AAF) 76.15p -10.20%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 117.60p -4.70%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 494.50p -3.42%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 309.80p -3.01%
Centrica (CNA) 55.52p -2.60%
Softcat (SCT) 1,918.00p -2.59%
Paragon Banking Group (PAG) 475.00p -2.58%
Spectris (SXS) 3,250.00p -2.26%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 1,954.50p -2.03%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 407.00p -1.93%