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15 Mar 2021 | 10:58

London midday: Stocks a little higher on US stimulus, vaccine hopes

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were off earlier highs but still in the black by midday on Monday, with sentiment underpinned by vaccine optimism and the US stimulus package.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 6,779.45.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at, said: "The passing of the $1.9trn relief bill and the imminent arrival of stimulus cheques in the US is clearly positive for risk. As is the growing confidence that things will be back to normal by the summer, at least in the US and UK. Even in Europe with all its vaccine trouble, there is confidence things are looking better and economies are able to withstand the virus much better than last year.

"The Federal Reserve meeting this week will be the main event for markets but so far Jay Powell has not sought to lean against the rise in bond yields - no Twist mk3 it would appear."

Investors were digesting comments from Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey, who said earlier that he expected inflation to approach the Bank's target soon but that he was cautious about whether the trend was sustainable amid continuing economic uncertainty.

Bailey suggested a recent increase in market interest rates did not augur rapidly rising inflation and differed with his chief economist over the potential for a post-lockdown consumer boom as restrictions are relaxed.

"Our current view of inflation is that it will get back towards our 2% target," Bailey told BBC radio's Today programme. "It will get back towards that level in the next two or three months. The important question here is: will that be sustained?"

In corporate news, gambling company Flutter Entertainment topped the FTSE 100 after saying it was considering spinning off its FanDuel business to cash in on the growing US sports betting market.

Sales, marketing, and support services group DCC was up after it agreed to buy Wörner, a supplier of medical and laboratory products to the primary care sector in Germany and Switzerland for €80m.

On the downside, Provident Financial shares tumbled more than 20% after the doorstep lender said the UK's financial regulator has started a probe into its consumer credit unit. The company also said an internal review into the business "has made it clear" it needed to address the issue of rising customer complaints.

Marketing and events group Ascential slumped after it reported a £166.5m annual loss and paid no dividend as revenue plunged and the company posted £99m extra exceptional costs.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,779.45 0.27% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,566.04 0.28% techMARK (TASX) 4,181.02 0.89%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 16,835.00p 6.58% Kingfisher (KGF) 307.90p 2.36% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 217.10p 2.21% Next (NXT) 7,842.00p 2.00% Entain (ENT) 1,495.50p 1.98% Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,169.00p 1.83% Fresnillo (FRES) 947.80p 1.83% Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 116.80p 1.70% Compass Group (CPG) 1,618.00p 1.63% Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 6,266.00p 1.62%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Evraz (EVR) 554.80p -3.18% Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 287.50p -1.64% Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,655.00p -1.57% Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 174.10p -1.33% Informa (INF) 564.40p -1.29% BHP Group (BHP) 2,153.00p -1.22% BP (BP.) 319.75p -1.14% Anglo American (AAL) 2,983.00p -1.14% Aveva Group (AVV) 3,386.00p -1.11% Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,502.60p -1.01%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Drax Group (DRX) 414.80p 10.61% Hammerson (HMSO) 37.15p 6.42% Tullow Oil (TLW) 63.84p 4.97% SSP Group (SSPG) 350.00p 3.73% National Express Group (NEX) 322.40p 3.47% OSB Group (OSB) 471.20p 2.79% Avon Rubber (AVON) 3,010.00p 2.73% WH Smith (SMWH) 2,044.00p 2.71% Allianz Technology Trust (ATT) 2,810.00p 2.55% TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 298.85p 2.52%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Provident Financial (PFG) 190.30p -27.26% HGCapital Trust (HGT) 321.00p -6.82% Ascential (ASCL) 350.60p -5.50% Playtech (PTEC) 429.30p -4.45% Marshalls (MSLH) 691.50p -3.35% Diversified Gas & Oil (DGOC) 115.20p -2.21% Savills (SVS) 1,132.00p -1.99% Derwent London (DLN) 3,286.00p -1.62% AO World (AO.) 300.50p -1.48% Weir Group (WEIR) 1,846.00p -1.47%

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