(Alliance News) – Stocks rallied in London on Thursday, blue-chip index rose to 7,000 – a level unseen since before the pandemic – and average capitalization hit an all-time high.
CMC Markets Principal Market Analyst Michael Hewson said: “The FTSE 100 maintained its recent resilience and superior performance, closing at its highest level this year and at its best level since February 26 last year, while the FTSE 250 also closed at a new all-time high. level. tall. While other major indices have been leading all-time highs in recent weeks, UK equities seem to finally find some favor with investors as they beckon for a recovery, although the FTSE100 still has plenty of reason to compensate before it recovers its losses. from last year’s peaks at 7,689 “.
The FTSE 100 index on Thursday rose 56.90 points, or 0.8%, to 6,942.22 points, the highest level in the last year.
The mid-cap FTSE 250 added 86.97 points, or 0.4%, to close at 22,247.54. The AIM All-Share Index rose 0.8% to 1,239.04.
The Cboe UK 100 Index closed 0.6% higher at 690.87. The Cboe 250 was up 0.1% to 19,842.39. Small stocks Cboe rose 0.7% to 14,224.80.
“The main lagging behind today is in travel and leisure stocks, which is somewhat surprising given all the optimism surrounding the lifting of restrictions as EasyJet, Wizz Air and Carnival are slipping away from their recent peaks,” continued Hewson.
EasyJet shares lost 2.8% on Thursday, Wizz Air shares 2.5% and Carnival shares 4.4%.
He added: “One of the reasons for the current weakness in this sector may be concerns about possible delays in the UK with the ability to complete its vaccination program on schedule, as well as the postponement of the travel abroad deadline on May 17, given the change in recommendations for vaccination of cohorts under 30 years old “.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock and leading scientists are seeking to bolster public confidence in the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after regulators pointed to a one-in-a-million chance of dying from a rare blood clot.
Hancock said everyone should get vaccinated when the time is right, and the risk of a blood clot was the same as on a “long flight.”
He urged people under the age of 30 who will be offered a vaccine alternative to AstraZeneca to get an injection to protect loved ones and avoid the risk of long-term Covid infection, adding that there are sufficient supplies of Moderna and Pfizer for this age range.
Astra shares added 2.0% on Thursday.
In a series of interviews, Hancock said vaccines are clearly severing the link between Covid cases and UK deaths and saving “thousands of lives.”
He told Sky News: “The number of people dying from Covid has halved in the past nine days … and is 90% below the peak.”
All vaccines used in the UK have been “safe for all ages,” but the “extremely rare” risk of a rare blood clot in the brain and the rebalancing of risks for those under 30 means they can be given other vaccines. instead, jabs.
SpreadEx analyst Connor Campbell said: “The FTSE profit was based on the promise of an aggressive recovery from the coronavirus. However, the danger lurks. So far, there are any concerns about the vaccine – whether it is the use of an Oxford shot to get sick. The 30s, or warnings that the vaccination program was about to slow down – were tied to the pound. If these fears spread to the FTSE, it could quickly retreat from its 13-month highs. ”
At the close of trading on Thursday, the pound was quoted at $ 1.3739, down from $ 1.3747 at the London bourses close on Wednesday amid concerns over a vaccine rollout in the UK.
The euro was worth $ 1.1903 compared to $ 1.1891. Against the yen, the dollar traded at JPY109.25 versus JPY109.72.
In London, Johnson Matthey gained 1.5% after the specialty chemicals company said its 2021 financial results are expected to be roughly in line with market expectations.
The company said that after the Covid-19 outage, its other half was significantly stronger. Johnson Matthey attributed productivity to increased activity in the automotive and other key end markets and actions taken to transform its operations, including tight cost management.
In addition, its strong operating performance allowed continued investment in strategic growth projects. Johnson Matthey said it continues to revise its portfolio to focus on areas that will maximize shareholder value. As part of this process, the company conducts a strategic analysis of its healthcare business.
At the clean air division, Johnson Matthey said there is a strong recovery in demand in all regions by the end of the first half of the year after a period of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mining giant Anglo American gained 3.2% after it announced the divestiture of its South African thermal coal mines by transferring a new holding company, Thungela Resources.
The split is taking place as the global mining giant embarks on a “responsible transition” away from thermal coal. The proposal will also allow Thungela to attract new shareholders and gain access to new sources of capital as an independent company offering direct access to thermal coal, Anglo added.
Sage Group gained 4.1% after Citigroup upgraded its accounting software provider to Buy from Neutral.
Holding back the growth of blue chips, London oil companies have been struggling due to low oil prices.
Royal Dutch Shell ‘A’ shares fell 2.2%, while ‘B’ shares lost 2.0%, and shares of its sister company BP lost 2.3%.
CMC’s Hewson said: “Yesterday’s weekly gasoline stock data, which showed an unexpected surge in US gasoline inventories, appears to limit the upside potential for crude oil in the short term, with $ 64 as some kind of high. We have some pretty solid support. down around $ 60 and the March lows. “
Brent crude was quoted at $ 62.89 a barrel on Thursday afternoon, up from $ 62.08 a barrel on Wednesday in London.
In the intermediate games, Danelm added 2.5%. The home furnishings retailer said that while quarterly sales fell overall, digital sales more than tripled.
For the third quarter through March 27, total sales were £ 236.6 million, down 17% from the same period last year of £ 284.4 million, as most of the retail stores were closed during this period. period due to Covid-19 restrictions.
However, digital sales, including Click & collect and home delivery, were up 92.4% of total sales from 22.5% a year earlier.
On AIM, ASOS shares were down 3.4% from their earlier gains. The online fashion retailer said its sales rose nearly a quarter in the first half as it welcomed the acquisition of Arcadia’s assets, but was cautious about its short-term outlook as measures to restrict access to it weakened.
In the six months to 28 February, revenue rose 24% to £ 1.98 billion from £ 1.60 billion a year earlier. This measure includes other elements such as delivery receipts and third party receipts. Retail sales alone rose 24% to £ 1.92 billion from £ 1.55 billion.
His profits have also increased. ASOS recorded a pre-tax profit of £ 106.4 million, up from £ 30.1 million a year earlier. Adjusted profit before tax, excluding one-off costs associated with the Topshop deal, was £ 112.9 million.
ASOS said it is “well positioned,” although it “remains cautious about short-term consumer predictions” due to the timing of the Covid-19 cap lifting and the likelihood of future peaks of the virus.
In continental Europe, the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.6% and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt closed 0.2%.
In the US, Wall Street was looking for direction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average was unchanged, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.9%.
Gold traded at $ 1,754.40 an ounce, up from $ 1,739.40 an ounce.
The International Economic Calendar prints China’s Consumer Price Index overnight on Friday, while Germany’s trade balance and industrial production are at 07:00 BST, French industrial production at 07:45 BST, Halifax UK house prices at 08 : 30 BST and US PPI. at 13:30 BST.
The UK corporate calendar has no events scheduled for Friday.
Paul McGowan; [email protected]
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