London close: Stocks end relatively lacklustre week higher
(Sharecast News) - London stocks finished the week in positive territory on Friday, having broken back above the waterline earlier in the afternoon.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.12% at 6,969.81, and the FTSE 250 was 0.47% firmer at 22,497.37.
Sterling remained on the back foot, last changing hands 0.77% weaker against the dollar at $1.3836, and slipping 0.04% from the euro to €1.1497.
"After a decent start to the month the last two weeks have seen the FTSE 100 take a bit of a pause, and though we've struggled to maintain a foothold above 7,000, the index is still up for the third successive month in a row," said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.
"It's also important to note that while the FTSE 100 has underperformed, the FTSE 250 has made new record highs this month."
Hewson noted that it had been a "similarly choppy and mixed" end to the week for the rest of Europe's markets, with the DAX struggling more than most.
"Aside from that, company earnings this week have largely been better than expected, and confidence in the global recovery still remains high, despite concerns about events in India, Brazil and tighter restrictions in Turkey, as well as parts of Japan."
On the data front, Nationwide said UK house prices jumped at a month-on-month pace of 2.1% in April to reach £238,831 - the biggest increase since February 2004.
That pushed the year-on-year rate of increase from 5.7% to 7.1%, well above market expectations for 5.1%, with Nationwide's chief economist Richard Gardner claiming that double-digit gains could happen in the coming months.
However, a sharp drop in activity at the end of 2021 was a possibility should unemployment rise as many economists were expecting, Gardner added.
On the continent, preliminary readings for first quarter gross domestic growth in Germany and Spain undershot forecasts, partially offset by a big beat in France.
In equity markets, UK bank Barclays was down 7.01% after reporting a more-than-doubling in first quarter profits, but cautioned that its outlook remained uncertain due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lender posted a better-than-expected pre-tax profit before tax for the three months to 31 March of £2.4bn, up from £923m and higher than consensus forecasts for £1.76bn.
Unlike sector peers Lloyds and NatWest, Barclays did not release any cash set aside to cover potential bad loans from the pandemic.
Richard Hunter at Interactive Investor pointed out how Barclays shares had already run up 71% over the 12 months before Friday's results.
Valve and instrumentation maker Rotork was off 3.26% after reporting first quarter performance as improving in line with expectations, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Revenue was up mid-single digits year-on-year on an organic constant currency basis, in part reflecting the weighting of first half 2020 sales to the second quarter.
On the upside, AstraZeneca rose 4.28% after saying it expected performance to improve after "robust" revenue growth in the first quarter.
Revenue increased 15% to $7.3bn in the three months to the end of March, or by 11% excluding currency movements.
At constant currency and excluding the Covid-19 vaccine revenue rose 7% to $7.05bn, as the company reiterated its full-year guidance and predicted a "performance acceleration" in the second half.
Smurfit Kappa jumped 4.21% after reporting first quarter corrugated volume growth of around 7% in both Europe and the Americas.
The packaging giant said containerboard prices had increased in the quarter, and again at the start of the second quarter, as a result of strong demand and higher recovered fibre and other costs.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals added 3.17% after also reporting a good start to 2021, with annual revenue from generic treatments set to be towards the top of its guidance.
The drugs company said its injectables business was performing well with product launches and general demand in the US partly offsetting reduced demand for Covid-19 related products and the gradual return of elective surgeries.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,969.81 0.12%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,497.37 0.47%
techMARK (TASX) 4,360.31 0.84%
FTSE 100 - Risers
AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,715.00p 4.28%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,708.00p 4.21%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,442.00p 3.17%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,715.00p 3.12%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 2,192.00p 2.87%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,506.00p 2.55%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 104.62p 2.55%
M&G (MNG) 217.30p 2.55%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,477.00p 2.40%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 968.20p 2.20%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barclays (BARC) 175.50p -7.01%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,091.00p -4.03%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 14,840.00p -3.23%
Anglo American (AAL) 3,079.00p -2.28%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,917.00p -2.17%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,876.00p -1.92%
DCC (CDI) (DCC) 6,284.00p -1.90%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,475.00p -1.75%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,495.50p -1.61%
Glencore (GLEN) 295.20p -1.60%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Indivior (INDV) 152.60p 6.79%
JTC (JTC) 673.00p 6.66%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 249.00p 4.84%
Provident Financial (PFG) 244.80p 4.17%
Just Group (JUST) 109.10p 4.00%
Clarkson (CKN) 3,035.00p 3.76%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 415.00p 3.75%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 2,180.00p 3.56%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 1,092.00p 3.21%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 483.60p 3.16%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 974.00p -5.44%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 54.10p -3.70%
Rotork (ROR) 344.60p -3.26%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 288.10p -3.06%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 139.30p -2.59%
Bodycote (BOY) 756.00p -2.58%
Genuit Group (GEN) 565.00p -2.08%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 171.20p -1.95%
Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 330.50p -1.93%
Marshalls (MSLH) 727.00p -1.82%
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