London open: Stocks edge higher after retail sales, borrowing figures

Opening Market Report
07:39, 20th November 2020

(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Friday as investors digested the latest UK retail sales and borrowing data.
At 0900 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 6,350.32.

Figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed retail sales rose for the sixth consecutive month in October, underpinned by the online segment, while government borrowing hit its highest level on record for that month but was still lower than expected.

Public sector net borrowing was £22.3bn in October, up £10.8bn from the same month last year and marking the sixth-highest borrowing in any month since records began in 1993, as the government continued to spend amid the pandemic. However, it was lower than the consensus forecast of £37.2bn.

Separate figures from the ONS showed retail sales rose 1.2% on the month in October, down from 1.5% growth in September but ahead of expectations for no growth. On the year, sales were 5.8% higher, coming in ahead of expectations for a 4.2% increase.

Deputy national statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said: "Despite the introduction of some local lockdowns in October, retail sales continued its recent run of strong growth.

"Feedback from shops suggested some consumers may have brought forward their Christmas shopping, ahead of potential further restrictions. Online stores also saw strong sales, boosted by widespread offers.

"However, the slow recovery in clothing sales has stalled after five consecutive months of increased sales."

Capital Economics said: "The decent rise in retail sales in October and the smaller increase in government borrowing suggests that the economy held up better than expected when the Covid-19 tiered restrictions were being implemented.

"But the second lockdown that began in November will probably prompt retail sales to fall again and public borrowing to rise faster."

In equity markets, Hargreaves Lansdown was a high riser after Barclays said in a note that it was one of its favoured names in the investment platform sector.

Croda International was boosted by an upgrade to 'buy' at Citi, which said the company has "a good nose for attractive deals" following its recent acquisition of emerging markets fragrance player Iberchem.

Gold miner Hochschild Mining shone as it reinstated its dividend and said operating costs in the current financial year would be lower than previous guidance.

Vectura rallied after announcing late on Thursday that GlaxoSmithKline had lost an appeal to overturn an $89.7m verdict a jury handed down after finding that the pharmaceutical giant's Ellipta inhalers infringed a patent belonging to it.

Accounting software firm Sage slumped even after it lifted its dividend and reported an 8.5% rise in organic recurring revenue rose to £1.6bn, driven by growth from existing and new customers, principally in North America and Northern Europe.

Helios Towers tumbled after Millicom Holding sold 52 million shares in the telecommunications company - a 5.2% stake - at 155p each. This represents an 11.6% discount to the closing share price on Thursday.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,350.32 0.25%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,477.15 -0.16%
techMARK (TASX) 3,963.17 0.00%

FTSE 100 - Risers

BAE Systems (BA.) 524.80p 3.35%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,502.00p 2.28%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 100.65p 2.12%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,116.00p 1.73%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 815.20p 1.70%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,420.00p 1.68%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 524.20p 1.67%
Croda International (CRDA) 6,346.00p 1.57%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,554.50p 1.57%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 6,126.00p 1.56%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Sage Group (SGE) 610.00p -10.27%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,138.00p -2.61%
BT Group (BT.A) 125.20p -2.19%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 1,693.00p -1.57%
British Land Company (BLND) 472.70p -1.54%
Halma (HLMA) 2,387.00p -1.49%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,852.00p -1.49%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 322.20p -1.47%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,903.00p -1.22%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,307.00p -0.99%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Vectura Group (VEC) 123.00p 5.31%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 73.00p 4.73%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 435.20p 3.05%
Carnival (CCL) 1,205.00p 2.77%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 45.31p 2.51%
IntegraFin Holding (IHP) 502.00p 2.45%
Energean (ENOG) 695.20p 2.45%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 113.40p 1.98%
easyJet (EZJ) 735.00p 1.83%
Investec (INVP) 192.10p 1.67%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Helios Towers (HTWS) 155.00p -11.63%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 331.80p -5.12%
Workspace Group (WKP) 681.00p -3.06%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 529.50p -2.84%
Royal Mail (RMG) 288.30p -2.44%
Ninety One (N91) 228.20p -2.31%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited C Shs NPV (SONC) 102.50p -1.91%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 145.10p -1.89%
Rank Group (RNK) 143.00p -1.79%
BMO Commercial Property Trust Limited (BCPT) 71.70p -1.78%

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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