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22 Feb 2021 | 08:22

London open: Stocks fall as investors eye lockdown easing plan

(Sharecast News) - London stocks fell in early trade on Monday as investors awaited details on the government's roadmap out of lockdown. At 0840 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.7% at 6,578.89, while sterling was 0.2% lower against the dollar at 1.3995.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said market participants didn't appear too happy about the various lockdown-easing reports doing the rounds.

"Though Boris Johnson will reveal the official timeline later today, the weekend papers were full of details on the road out of lockdown 3.0. Schools are expected to re-open from March 8th, while people will be able to meet outside in groups of 6 from March 29th, just in time for Easter," he said.

"Those steps have been prioritised ahead of the re-opening of restaurants and non-essential retail, which will not occur until April (daily covid-19 numbers permitting).

"This delay to the retail re-opening helps explain why the FTSE and pound have both opened the week in the red. For while investors are no doubt happy the country is loosening the restrictions once again, the reality is they don't hold positions in schools and picnics."

Worries about rising inflation also weighed sentiment. Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: "With commodity prices continuing to rise and with an oil price now up 23% this year, helped by freezing conditions in the US and crimped supply, thoughts are also turning slowly to the possibility of inflation becoming a factor later in the year."

In equity markets, pub group Mitchells & Butlers was in the red after saying it had been burning up to £35m in cash a month since the start of the year as it launched a £351m placing to bolster its balance sheet from the coronavirus pandemic.

G4S fell sharply after Canadian security services firm GardaWorld said it will not raise its offer for the company, paving the way for US-based Allied Universal to buy the London-listed security services firm.

Smith & Nephew was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'hold' at Commerzbank, while B&M European Value Retail was weaker after a downgrade to 'hold' at Peel Hunt.

On the upside, Glencore was boosted by an upgrade to 'overweight' at JPMorgan. Miners were firmer overall as metals prices rallied, with BHP, Antofagasta, Rio and Anglo American all higher.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,578.89 -0.68% FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,875.69 -0.76% techMARK (TASX) 4,019.72 -0.81%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Evraz (EVR) 567.40p 1.94% BHP Group (BHP) 2,315.50p 1.67% Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 13,835.00p 1.54% Glencore (GLEN) 303.60p 1.15% Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,853.00p 0.82% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 167.00p 0.75% HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 425.55p 0.38% Rio Tinto (RIO) 6,369.00p 0.27% Anglo American (AAL) 2,875.00p 0.17% Standard Chartered (STAN) 493.10p 0.12%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,472.00p -3.40% Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,429.00p -3.02% Avast (AVST) 470.80p -2.97% JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 827.40p -2.66% Rightmove (RMV) 621.80p -2.63% Rentokil Initial (RTO) 486.70p -2.37% Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,570.00p -2.18% Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,317.00p -2.15% Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,352.00p -2.08% Aveva Group (AVV) 3,679.00p -2.05%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Coats Group (COA) 63.80p 3.24% PureTech Health (PRTC) 417.00p 3.22% Rank Group (RNK) 145.80p 2.39% XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 5,460.00p 2.25% Just Group (JUST) 86.50p 1.82% Cineworld Group (CINE) 82.24p 1.81% Babcock International Group (BAB) 232.60p 1.62% TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 362.10p 1.49% Carnival (CCL) 1,455.50p 1.22% BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 606.00p 1.17%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

G4S (GFS) 242.80p -9.74% Templeton Emerging Markets Inv Trust (TEM) 1,034.00p -2.64% Trainline (TRN) 482.20p -2.63% Games Workshop Group (GAW) 9,645.00p -2.62% Network International Holdings (NETW) 336.60p -2.60% Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 470.00p -2.59% Computacenter (CCC) 2,150.00p -2.45% Ninety One (N91) 212.00p -2.30% Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 946.00p -2.27% Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 3,532.00p -2.21%
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