London open: FTSE 100 breaches 7,000 for first time since pandemic
(Sharecast News) - London stocks rose in early trade on Friday, with the top-flight index breaching the 7,000 level for the first time since February 2020 as investors mulled encouraging Chinese growth figures.
At 0900 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 7,018.13, with sentiment underpinned not just by the Chinese data, but also by Thursday's solid US retail sales and jobless claims numbers.
Figures released earlier by the National Bureau of Statistics showed China's economy bounced back from the pandemic in the first quarter.
GDP growth jumped to a record 18.3% in the first quarter from 6.5% in the final quarter of last year. The figures came in below expectations for 18.5% growth but marked the best year-on-year growth since records began in 1992.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, growth was 0.6% in the first quarter, down from an upwardly revised 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2020 and below consensus expectations of 1.4% growth.
"The national economy made a good start," the NBS said. However, it cautioned: "We must be aware that the Covid-19 epidemic is still spreading globally and the international landscape is complicated with high uncertainties and instabilities."
Capital Economics said flattering base effects were masking a sharp slowdown.
"China's GDP growth jumped to a record high in y/y terms last quarter. But this was entirely due to a weaker base for comparison from last year's historic downturn. In q/q terms, growth dropped back sharply and, with the exception of Q1 last year, was slower than at any other time during the past decade."
Other figures from the NBS showed that retail spending rose 34.2% in March, up from 33.8% in February and above consensus expectations of a 28% increase.
Industrial production growth slowed to 14.1% in March from 35.1% in February, coming in below expectations of 18.0%. Meanwhile, fixed asset investment growth slowed to 25.6% in March from 35% the month before and versus consensus of 26% growth.
In equity markets, miners were among the top performers after the Chinese data, with Antofagasta and Anglo American both up.
Ashmore was trading higher even as it said funds under management fell 3% in the first quarter as negative investment performance outweighed extra funds from investors.
Man Group gained a little after it said funds under management increased to $127bn (£92.3bn) in the three months to the end of March from $123.6bn at the end of December.
WHSmith was boosted by an upgrade to 'outperform' from 'sector perform' at RBC Capital Markets, but Dixons Carphone was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'sector perform' by the same outfit.
Kainos slumped even as the IT provider said results for the year to the end of March 2021 are set to be at the upper end of consensus after the momentum outlined in its trading update in January was maintained.
Shore Capital said: "In the absence of a further upgrade today, and after the strong run up the shares had of late, there may be a 'pause for breath' moment at this juncture with the potential for some downside pressure (better to travel than to arrive?)."
TI Fluid Systems slumped after its largest shareholder, Bain Capital, and outgoing chief executive Bill Kozyra placed 52.4m shares in the company in an accelerated bookbuild to institutional investors. The shares were placed at 280p each, versus Thursday's closing price of 308p. Bain placed 52m, while Kozyra placed the rest.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,018.13 0.50%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,534.63 0.28%
techMARK (TASX) 4,375.90 0.16%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 633.20p 3.13%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,993.00p 2.60%
Barclays (BARC) 189.22p 2.48%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,897.50p 1.85%
Anglo American (AAL) 3,207.50p 1.84%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,825.00p 1.80%
Experian (EXPN) 2,710.00p 1.65%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 15,555.00p 1.57%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 43.47p 1.55%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 197.25p 1.54%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,777.00p -1.67%
Fresnillo (FRES) 916.80p -1.19%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 786.80p -1.01%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 957.40p -0.93%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,386.00p -0.91%
Rightmove (RMV) 612.60p -0.87%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,511.00p -0.85%
Admiral Group (ADM) 3,181.00p -0.81%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,846.00p -0.68%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 190.40p -0.68%
FTSE 250 - Risers
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,909.50p 4.15%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 2,990.00p 2.93%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 445.20p 2.06%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 426.00p 1.91%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 324.40p 1.88%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,008.50p 1.87%
Investec (INVP) 249.70p 1.79%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 193.65p 1.76%
Trainline (TRN) 498.00p 1.67%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 395.40p 1.59%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 288.00p -6.49%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,611.00p -5.07%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 141.80p -2.54%
Vistry Group (VTY) 1,208.00p -1.55%
Herald Investment Trust (HRI) 2,310.00p -1.28%
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 462.00p -1.28%
Future (FUTR) 2,320.00p -1.19%
C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 286.60p -1.10%
Genesis Emerging Markets Fund Ltd Ptg NPV (GSS) 909.00p -1.09%
Jlen Environmental Assets Group Limited NPV (JLEN) 111.00p -0.89%
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