London open: Stocks edge up amid Biden cheer
(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Thursday, underpinned by stimulus hopes as investors welcomed the start of Joe Biden's US presidency.
At 0850 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 6,758.87, while sterling was 0.4% firmer against the dollar at 1.3707. The stronger pound was likely holding back the top-flight index, as around 70% of its constituents derive most of their earnings from overseas.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Breaking in the Biden administration with a fresh all-time high, the Dow's inauguration day gains fed into the European open this Thursday.
"The 46th President of the United States was aggressive in first few hours after taking office, announcing 17 executive actions, with 15 of those executive orders. These include reversing Trump's Muslim travel ban, halting the construction of the US-Mexico border wall, and putting things in motion for the States to re-join the Paris climate agreement. Biden has also mandated the wearing of masks and social distancing in federal buildings and lands.
"It appears that Biden isn't messing around. And it is exactly this purposeful and robust approach the markets were hoping for - especially if it leads to his $1.9 trillion covid-19 stimulus package escaping the Senate unscathed."
Investors will also be eyeing the latest policy announcement from the European Central Bank, due at 1245 GMT. The Bank is widely expected to stand pat on policy but keep the door open to more stimulus.
In equity markets, software group Sage was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 after saying it traded in line with expectations in the first quarter as recurring revenue grew strongly. Total revenue rose 1.4% to £447m in the three months to the end of December from a year earlier as recurring revenue increased 4.7% to £408m.
Sainsburys was boosted by an upgrade to 'hold' from 'sell' at Berenberg, while Ocado gained after Berenberg bumped up its price target.
4imprint rallied after the direct marketer of promotional products said that full-year underlying pre-tax profit is set to be in line with the board's expectations, as order intake continues to recover.
Brick maker Ibstock rose sharply after it saying it now expects to report adjusted EBITDA for 2020 "modestly above" previous guidance of £50m.
Pets at Home gained after it stuck to its outlook for annual results as the company posted an 18% increase in third-quarter revenue amid a boom in pet product sales.
On the downside, energy producer and explorer Energean slumped after it said delivery of first gas from its Israeli fields could slip by up to three months due to manpower shortages.
Hiscox was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'hold' at Jefferies.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,758.87 0.27%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,927.28 0.22%
techMARK (TASX) 4,217.34 0.60%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sage Group (SGE) 593.00p 3.49%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 417.70p 2.38%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 159.60p 1.98%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 244.20p 1.67%
M&G (MNG) 196.15p 1.58%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,612.00p 1.56%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,786.50p 1.42%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,122.00p 1.40%
Halma (HLMA) 2,555.00p 1.15%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,823.00p 1.14%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pearson (PSON) 719.40p -2.41%
Informa (INF) 530.00p -2.18%
Diageo (DGE) 2,908.00p -0.94%
WPP (WPP) 803.80p -0.86%
Relx plc (REL) 1,816.50p -0.79%
BHP Group (BHP) 2,154.00p -0.71%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,409.20p -0.62%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,659.50p -0.54%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 826.20p -0.53%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 6,006.00p -0.46%
FTSE 250 - Risers
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,385.00p 5.53%
Ibstock (IBST) 204.60p 3.96%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,781.00p 3.73%
Diploma (DPLM) 2,324.00p 2.92%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 212.60p 2.71%
Royal Mail (RMG) 410.90p 2.21%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 250.00p 2.04%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 411.40p 2.03%
Rotork (ROR) 348.80p 1.87%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 1,758.00p 1.74%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Energean (ENOG) 865.70p -6.13%
IWG (IWG) 314.20p -3.02%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 88.40p -1.67%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 391.00p -1.51%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 989.00p -1.49%
Ascential (ASCL) 368.00p -1.34%
Investec (INVP) 200.80p -1.33%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 185.30p -1.28%
Homeserve (HSV) 1,083.00p -1.28%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 32.00p -1.23%
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