FTSE 100 climbs to three-week high
STOCKS in London shrugged off news that the UK economy tumbled into its deepest recession on record yesterday, with the FTSE 100 ending at a three-week high.
London’s benchmark index pushed 2pc higher to 6,280.12 as every sector rallied, led by utilities, healthcare and energy companies.
A fall in the pound against the euro and the dollar also helped the London stock market to outshine its continental neighbours as investors bought into UK-based multinational companies earning much of their income in dollars.
Losses for the pound were, however, limited by data showing growth of 8.7pc in June as the economy slowly emerged from lockdown.
Laura Suter, an analyst at AJ Bell, called the June figures “encouraging”. She added: “The figure for June is key, as we all knew that lockdown measures would have a big impact on the economy but what we still don’t know is how quickly the UK will rebound.”
HSBC rose 11.1p to 357.1p amid a strong performance for Hong Konglinked stocks, prompted by a report in China’s Global Times that said flights from the city to the mainland many resume. Standard Chartered also climbed due to the report, closing up 10.4p at 438.5p.
Elsewhere, Just Eat Takeaway, the food delivery group, jumped 320p to £89.98 after reporting a 44pc surge in first-half revenues and 32pc increase in orders as people stuck at home opted to get takeout.
Royal Bank of Canada’s Sherri Malek said the group is likely to undergo a “step-up in investments” to shore up its strong position in the competitive food delivery market.
Meanwhile, Avast shares dropped back from Tuesday’s record high, falling 18p to 582p after the antivirus software maker’s first-half results showed a trend of rising installations had faded over recent weeks.
The FTSE 100 group posted an increase in profit before tax from a narrow rise in revenues after a performance that chief executive Ondrej Vlcek said demonstrated the group’s “business resilience”.
UBS’s Michael Briest said the results were strong, but that the tailwinds behind Avast during lockdown have “now passed”.
On the FTSE 250, travel and tour operator Tui shed 15.3p to 367.3p despite announcing that it had agreed a €1.2bn (£1.1bn) extension of its loan from Germany. The group said the expansion strengthens its position and would offer it enough liquidity to last “through winter 2020-21 and thereafter”.
West End property specialist
Capital & Counties also took a tumble after it reported a slump in rental income due to lockdowns and deferred its dividend decision until the end of the year. Shares closed 13p lower at 128p.