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08 Mar 2021 | 08:04

London open: Stocks edge up as travel & leisure, energy sectors rally

(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Monday, underpinned by strength in the travel & leisure and energy sectors. At 0910 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.4% at 6,655.05.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: "Improving news for the much anticipated global economic recovery is being tempered by accelerating inflation concerns.

"In the US, the non-farm payrolls figure which saw 379000 jobs being added in February was significantly higher than expected, with the unemployment rate also dropping to 6.2%.

"Over the weekend, the proposed $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package was approved by the Senate, while the rollout of vaccinations also continues apace. These combined factors point to the likelihood of strong growth momentum to come later in the year."

In equity markets, travel and leisure-related stocks were the standout gainers, with engine maker Rolls-Royce, British Airways parent IAG, InterContinental Hotels and Premier Inn owner Whitbread all higher. Cruiser operator Carnival, TUI, easyJet and Cineworld also gained.

BP and Shell were both higher as oil prices rose, with Brent crude breaking above $70 a barrel after reports of an attack on Saudi oil facilities by Yemen's Houthi fighters.

Phoenix advanced after it posted record annual cash generation and an increased dividend as it unveiled new cash targets.

On the downside, educational publisher Pearson fell after it maintained its dividend as it delivered lower annual profits offset by a rise in online learning, reflecting school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic, and said it would refocus the business towards a direct-to-consumer model.

Micro Focus was under the cosh as it said it plans to appeal after a jury ruled against the company and in favour of US-based Wapp in a patent litigation case, awarding the claimant damages of up to $172.5m.

BT Group was also in the red after the telecoms company denied accusations that former chairman Jan du Plessis was forced out last week because he was holding up the pace of strategic decisions. BT was forced to issue a statement on Monday after reports last week that chief executive Philip Jansen threatened to leave unless du Plessis was replaced.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,655.05 0.37% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,107.14 0.70% techMARK (TASX) 4,021.39 -0.06%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 112.55p 3.68% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 211.40p 3.68% Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 41.19p 2.77% Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 746.20p 2.64% Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,485.00p 2.47% HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 447.35p 2.23% InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,947.00p 2.19% Whitbread (WTB) 3,482.00p 2.02% Persimmon (PSN) 2,964.00p 2.00% Standard Chartered (STAN) 509.20p 1.98%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Pearson (PSON) 739.20p -2.74% Avast (AVST) 436.40p -2.15% Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,044.00p -2.11% Rentokil Initial (RTO) 474.10p -1.80% London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,980.00p -1.77% United Utilities Group (UU.) 884.00p -1.73% BT Group (BT.A) 139.15p -1.63% Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,180.00p -1.44% Pennon Group (PNN) 942.40p -1.38% Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 173.60p -1.34%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Carnival (CCL) 1,620.00p 5.81% Vistry Group (VTY) 977.00p 5.28% Wood Group (John) (WG.) 336.30p 4.60% TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 431.20p 4.33% Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 193.85p 4.14% Network International Holdings (NETW) 371.80p 3.80% easyJet (EZJ) 1,009.50p 3.45% Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 216.00p 3.35% Cineworld Group (CINE) 108.05p 3.15% Bankers Inv Trust (BNKR) 107.00p 2.88%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Micro Focus International (MCRO) 462.60p -5.48% Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 400.00p -4.31% Genesis Emerging Markets Fund Ltd Ptg NPV (GSS) 878.00p -2.34% Future (FUTR) 1,726.00p -1.60% Trainline (TRN) 468.60p -1.51% Herald Investment Trust (HRI) 2,045.00p -1.45% JPMorgan Japanese Inv Trust (JFJ) 621.00p -1.43% Renishaw (RSW) 5,630.00p -1.31% Games Workshop Group (GAW) 9,625.00p -1.28% Spirent Communications (SPT) 240.50p -1.23%
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