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04 Mar 2021 | 16:04

London close: Stocks finish weaker amid bond yield pressure

(Sharecast News) - London stocks remained in negative territory at the close on Thursday, amid ongoing pressure from rising government bond yields overnight. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.37% at 6,650.88, and the FTSE 250 was 0.65% weaker at 21,296.23.

Sterling was in the green, meanwhile, last gaining 0.32% on the dollar to trade at $1.3999, and advancing 0.54% against the euro to €1.1630.

"Worries about firmer government bond yields are weighing on stocks again," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The Asian session saw painful losses thanks to the declines witnessed last night in the US and that has seeped into the sentiment in this part of the world, although the declines are moderate."

Madden said Thursday's bearish moves in European markets broke the region's three-day winning streak.

"In London, banks are handing back some of the impressive gains they racked up yesterday on account of the optimism injected into the market by the Budget.

"Copper has tumbled and that has dragged mining stocks like Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP into the red."

In equity markets, there was an avalanche of earnings reports for investors to wade through.

Aviva was ahead 1.23% after it said annual profit was little changed and announced the disposal of its Italian business and a move to reduce debt by £800m.

Sage added 4.11% after the software company announced it was commencing a share buyback programme of up to £300m utilising the sale proceeds from recent disposals and ongoing cash generation.

Building materials distributor CRH added 2.25% after it lifted its dividend even as it reported a decline in full-year profit and revenue, after what it called a "challenging year", hit by disruption from the pandemic.

Reckitt Benckiser was boosted 2.98% by an upgrade to 'buy' at Societe Generale.

Housebuilder Vistry was on the front foot by 3.51%, after it reported better-than-expected annual profits and resumed dividend payments, driven by a strong second half performance.

Rathbone Brothers was also higher, by 5.58%, after the release of its full-year results.

Entain reversed earlier losses to finish the session ahead 0.21%, after the Ladbrokes owner pulled its dividend despite a rise in annual profits, citing Covid-19 uncertainties.

On the downside, miners slumped, with Rio Tinto down 4.37%, BHP off 5.84%, Anglo American losing 3.28%, and Glencore 4.47% weaker.

B&M European Value Retail gave back early gains to end the day down 2.06%, even after it increased its guidance for annual earnings after strong trading at its UK business.

InterContinental Hotels was knocked 2.1% lower by a downgrade to 'underweight' at JPMorgan, while molten metal flow engineer Vesuvius slid 7.62% after posting a drop in full-year profit and revenue as its performance was dented by the Covid crisis.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,650.88 -0.37% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,296.23 -0.65% techMARK (TASX) 4,067.90 0.36%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Melrose Industries (MRO) 183.50p 3.70% Sage Group (SGE) 597.00p 3.04% Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,282.00p 2.98% BP (BP.) 313.10p 2.69% Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,466.60p 2.63% National Grid (NG.) 829.20p 2.35% Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) 15,130.00p 2.26% Pennon Group (PNN) 930.80p 2.25% CRH (CRH) 3,368.00p 2.25% Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,519.60p 2.17%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,873.00p -8.66% Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,088.00p -6.37% Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,726.50p -6.30% BHP Group (BHP) 2,216.50p -5.84% Glencore (GLEN) 286.30p -4.47% St James's Place (STJ) 1,214.50p -4.22% Standard Chartered (STAN) 477.30p -3.96% Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,183.00p -3.70% Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,535.00p -3.24% Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 6,562.00p -3.07%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Aggreko (AGK) 886.00p 7.65% Computacenter (CCC) 2,252.00p 6.43% Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,666.00p 5.58% Rank Group (RNK) 189.80p 5.44% Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 330.00p 4.93% Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 900.00p 4.78% Micro Focus International (MCRO) 519.80p 4.31% Vistry Group (VTY) 944.50p 3.51% Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,024.00p 3.23% PZ Cussons (PZC) 257.50p 3.21%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Vesuvius (VSVS) 509.50p -7.53% Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 312.00p -6.87% Edinburgh Worldwide Inv Trust (EWI) 343.00p -6.28% Synthomer (SYNT) 450.20p -5.54% Weir Group (WEIR) 1,816.00p -5.52% Coats Group (COA) 60.50p -5.32% Renishaw (RSW) 6,015.00p -5.10% Avon Rubber (AVON) 2,905.00p -4.28% Ferrexpo (FXPO) 330.80p -4.06% Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 299.50p -4.01%
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