London close: Stocks finish weaker amid tsunami of earnings

Market Close Report
15:04, 25th February 2021

(Sharecast News) - London stocks had slipped into the red in afternoon trading to close in negative territory on Thursday, as investors waded through an avalanche of earnings reports.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.11% at 6,651.96, and the FTSE 250 was off 0.54% at 21,198.12.

Sterling was below the waterline as well, last trading 0.3% lower against the dollar at $1.4099, and losing 0.89% on the euro to €1.1521.

"European markets have once again flattered to deceive today, starting off in promising fashion, before slipping back into the close, with US markets, and rising bond yields acting as a little bit of a drag," said CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson.

"While rising US yields have been attracting the most attention, we're also seeing some evidence of a tightening of financial conditions here in Europe, with sharp rises in government borrowing costs from Germany to Greece."

Hewson said the European Central Bank appeared to be becoming concerned about such a scenario, with chief economist Philip Lane saying that the bank was prepared to buy bonds "flexibly" in order to prevent a fiscal tightening.

"The problem the ECB has is that the bond market doesn't appear to be listening."

In equity markets, paper and packaging group DS Smith rocketed 5.7% following reports that rival Mondi is considering a £5bn takeover.

Mondi, meanwhile, was down 0.08% by the end of trading.

Anglo American rallied 3.94% as a boom in commodity prices and the easing of Covid curbs in the second half helped the miner to report better-than-expected annual profits and lift its dividend.

Mining stocks were on the rise generally as well, as copper prices rallied.

FTSE 250 construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall surged 12.38% as it reported a decline in full-year profit as the Covid-19 crisis had an impact, but upgraded its expectations for 2021.

Aston Martin Lagonda and Serco were also higher, by 6.8% and 4.33%, after full-year results.

On the downside, Standard Chartered fell 6.16% after it said annual profits more than halved on bad loan impairments due to the coronavirus pandemic, as it resumed dividend payments and announced a share buyback.

The Asia-focused bank said pre-tax profits fell 57% to $1.61bn, below the $1.85bn average of bank-compiled analyst forecasts.

Credit impairments more than doubled to $2.3bn.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals was down 5.85%, Genus lost 5.53%, Drax was off 3.44%, Centrica slid 2.8% and Inchcape was 4.34% weaker after the release of their numbers.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,651.96 -0.11%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,198.12 -0.54%
techMARK (TASX) 4,005.75 -0.71%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Evraz (EVR) 598.40p 5.95%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 406.90p 5.70%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,954.00p 3.94%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 6,468.00p 1.97%
BP (BP.) 304.55p 1.92%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,882.00p 1.70%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 9,712.00p 1.38%
Prudential (PRU) 1,450.50p 1.36%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 435.60p 1.36%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,062.00p 1.29%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Standard Chartered (STAN) 478.00p -6.16%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,811.00p -4.73%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,449.50p -3.62%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,669.00p -3.44%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,187.00p -3.36%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 3,936.00p -3.25%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,339.00p -3.23%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,462.00p -2.89%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 171.80p -2.86%
BT Group (BT.A) 127.20p -2.64%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Morgan Sindall Group (MGNS) 1,672.00p 12.63%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 102.85p 8.29%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 2,137.00p 6.80%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 1,022.00p 5.36%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 354.60p 4.91%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 124.80p 4.08%
Capita (CPI) 47.07p 4.01%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 206.00p 3.92%
Serco Group (SRP) 134.00p 3.10%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 199.50p 2.78%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Genus (GNS) 4,922.00p -6.07%
National Express Group (NEX) 297.40p -5.04%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 309.50p -4.64%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 433.00p -4.48%
Inchcape (INCH) 696.00p -4.34%
Workspace Group (WKP) 784.00p -4.22%
Greggs (GRG) 2,162.00p -4.09%
Carnival (CCL) 1,580.00p -3.86%
Ascential (ASCL) 360.40p -3.85%
Unite Group (UTG) 995.50p -3.63%

Disclaimer & Declaration of Interest

The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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