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08 Mar 2021 | 17:02

London close: Stocks finish firmer amid rebound optimism

(Sharecast News) - London stocks closed in positive territory on Monday, with Pearson still well in the green at the end of the day after well-received results. The FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.34% at 6,719.13, and the FTSE 250 was 1.19% firmer at 21.210.22.

Sterling was in a mixed state, last trading 0.21% weaker against the dollar at $1.3812, while gaining 0.36% on the euro to €1.1657.

"After a choppy start it looks like markets have rediscovered the spirit that pushed them higher on Friday, and aside from some continuing skittishness for tech stocks it is turning into a good day for equities," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

"Concerns about the US stimulus programme and hints from the progressive end of the Democrat caucus regarding voting against the bill have been brushed aside, as the reflation and cyclical recovery trade gets moving once again.

"The Dow is closing on a 1200 point gain from Thursday's lows, supercharged by hopes that Friday's headline improvement in the jobs numbers marks a turning point for the US economy's battle with Covid, and on expectations that the stimulus bill will help accelerate this process."

Beauchamp said that in Europe, meanwhile, the signs of a reflationary bounce were there, with the DAX in particular "smashing" through levels that had held the index back for 2021 so far.

"In London, the FTSE 100 is making another run at 6,700, having also struggled to make headway since the early days of January.

"All the talk of a cyclical rebound has not been reflected in the overall index, which has found itself under pressure for most of 2021 to date, but now the optimism surrounding the global rebound seems to have returned, with a general rebound in global stock markets now underway."

In equity markets, Pearson closed up 6.42%, reversing earlier losses after the education publisher maintained its dividend as it delivered lower annual profits offset by a rise in online learning, reflecting school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company also said it would refocus the business towards a direct-to-consumer model.

Banks were also on the rise, with HSBC up 4.09%, Lloyds ahead 4.25% and Barclays 3.7% higher.

Elsewhere, Phoenix Group advanced 3.11% after it posted record annual cash generation and an increased dividend as it unveiled new cash targets.

Network International rallied 14.29% after its full-year results, while travel and leisure-related stocks advanced, with engine maker Rolls-Royce adding 7.32%, InterContinental Hotels rising 5.52%, Premier Inn owner Whitbread ahead 4.28%, Carnival 8.2% firmer, TUI growing 5.66%, easyJet ascending 3.76% and Cineworld up 1.34%.

On the downside, Micro Focus lost 0.39% 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 fell 2.93% 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.

The company 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.

BP and Shell were mixed, the former closing down 0.05% and the latter up 0.01%, having both gained earlier in the session as oil prices jumped on reports of an attack on Saudi oil facilities by Yemen's Houthi fighters.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,719.13 1.34% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,210.22 1.19% techMARK (TASX) 4,052.24 0.71%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 116.50p 7.32% Informa (INF) 587.80p 5.91% Pearson (PSON) 804.80p 5.89% Persimmon (PSN) 3,074.00p 5.78% Melrose Industries (MRO) 183.95p 5.66% InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,110.00p 5.56% Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 6,702.00p 4.70% Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 178.65p 4.53% Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 41.78p 4.25% Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,525.00p 4.12%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) 7,606.00p -6.38% Avast (AVST) 420.00p -5.83% Rentokil Initial (RTO) 466.70p -3.33% B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 519.80p -3.28% BT Group (BT.A) 137.20p -3.00% United Utilities Group (UU.) 880.60p -2.11% Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 172.35p -2.05% Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,266.00p -1.94% Tesco (TSCO) 219.80p -1.88% Severn Trent (SVT) 2,200.00p -1.65%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Network International Holdings (NETW) 408.80p 14.13% Vistry Group (VTY) 1,019.00p 9.81% Carnival (CCL) 1,656.00p 8.16% Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 5,350.00p 7.09% Ferrexpo (FXPO) 351.80p 6.09% Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 285.00p 5.95% TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 435.60p 5.66% 4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,630.00p 5.62% Bellway (BWY) 3,324.00p 5.22% BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust (BRSC) 1,740.00p 5.07%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

PureTech Health (PRTC) 387.00p -6.88% Games Workshop Group (GAW) 9,170.00p -6.31% Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 395.50p -5.38% CMC Markets (CMCX) 362.50p -4.73% Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 307.00p -4.36% Energean (ENOG) 884.90p -3.84% Future (FUTR) 1,692.00p -3.53% Petropavlovsk (POG) 25.50p -3.41% Cairn Energy (CNE) 199.50p -2.88% Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 972.00p -2.80%
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