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10 Feb 2021 | 10:43

London midday: Gains unspectacular as investors await fresh catalysts

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were in the black by midday on Wednesday as investors sifted through results from the likes of Smurfit Kappa and Dunelm, but gains were unspectacular as investors awaited fresh catalysts. The FTSE 100 was ahead 0.3% at 6,553.67, while sterling was 0.2% firmer against the dollar at 1.3841.

IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said markets appear to be set for another day of contemplation, with the gains of last week giving way to a period of consolidation.

"Despite notable market drivers in the form of the US stimulus plans and ongoing coronavirus vaccination programme, the gains seen last week appear to have captured much of that initial improvement in sentiment. Instead we appear to be in a holding pattern as markets await a breakthrough in stimulus talks.

"Unfortunately the focus in Washington has shifted away from stimulus, with politicians instead sidetracked by the Trump impeachment trial that has kicked off this week. From a US perspective, that hope for a belated stimulus boost does provide expectations of further outperformance, with US markets pushing into record highs of late. That comes despite Biden's agreement to restrict stimulus payments for higher earning individuals. An appearance from Jerome Powell this evening should strike a fine balance between highlighting the improving economic picture and refraining from any tones that would indicate impending monetary tightening."

In equity markets, miners were the standout gainers, with Glencore, Anglo American, Rio and BHP all higher.

Smurfit Kappa advanced after the packaging company reported posted forecast-beating final earnings, boosted by strong demand in Europe and America. Rival DS Smith also gained.

Dunelm rallied as the homewares retailer resumed dividend payments and posted a rise in first-half profits driven by higher online sales as tougher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions closed its stores.

On the downside, online supermarket Ocado was under the cosh as Barclays reiterated its 'underweight' rating on the stock. The bank said it was disappointed and surprised that "2020 did not see any new deals inked".

Watches of Switzerland fell private equity firm after Apollo Global Management placed 22m shares in the company.

Redrow fell even as the housebuilder reinstated dividends and posted an 11% rise in first-half profit, as customers rushed to buy homes before the end of government incentives next month. Berkeley, Barratt Developments, Crest Nicholson and Vistry were also trading lower.

Elsewhere, JD Sports was knocked lower by a rating downgrade at Exane.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,553.67 0.34% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,067.89 -0.21% techMARK (TASX) 4,139.40 -0.25%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Glencore (GLEN) 272.00p 3.26% Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,646.00p 2.99% Anglo American (AAL) 2,664.50p 2.88% Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,921.00p 2.62% Standard Chartered (STAN) 466.30p 2.26% Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 714.00p 2.23% Aviva (AV.) 347.50p 1.70% BHP Group (BHP) 2,116.50p 1.68% Smith (DS) (SMDS) 368.90p 1.65% Prudential (PRU) 1,291.50p 1.61%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,614.00p -3.19% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 680.80p -2.41% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 150.30p -2.34% Compass Group (CPG) 1,440.00p -1.97% Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 13,960.00p -1.69% BP (BP.) 256.10p -1.39% Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,333.00p -1.34% JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 799.80p -1.16% Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 164.05p -1.12% Diageo (DGE) 2,979.50p -1.05%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,326.00p 5.15% Petropavlovsk (POG) 28.45p 3.45% Centrica (CNA) 54.54p 2.79% Greencore Group (GNC) 130.40p 2.60% Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 482.00p 2.44% Clarkson (CKN) 2,725.00p 2.25% Just Group (JUST) 86.30p 2.01% Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 122.75p 1.91% Biffa (BIFF) 240.50p 1.91% IG Group Holdings (IGG) 764.50p 1.87%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 317.00p -4.58% Micro Focus International (MCRO) 506.20p -3.40% Countryside Properties (CSP) 457.80p -3.21% FirstGroup (FGP) 78.40p -3.09% Bellway (BWY) 3,029.00p -2.92% Vistry Group (VTY) 899.00p -2.76% Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 726.00p -2.55% C&C Group (CCR) 244.50p -2.40% AO World (AO.) 306.00p -2.24% Helios Towers (HTWS) 166.60p -2.23%
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