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15 Mar 2021 | 16:11

London close: Stocks mixed as commodities underperform

(Sharecast News) - London stocks finished Monday's session in a mixed state, with the top-flight index dipping below the waterline in afternoon trading, sentiment earlier having been underpinned by vaccine optimism and the US stimulus package. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.17% at 6,749.70, while the FTSE 250 eked out gains of 0.07% to 21,522.35.

Sterling was also mixed, last trading 0.27% weaker against the dollar at $1.3887, while remaining flat on the euro at €1.1647.

"Today's session has been uneventful due to an absence of new positive news," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"This morning, European stocks got off to a good start as the bullish mood that was doing the rounds last week spilled over to today.

"The Biden administration approved the much-talked-about $1.9trn spending scheme late last week and that greatly influenced the overall mood in the markets."

Also contributing to the positive sentiment was the recovery story, Madden said, but some doubt had been cast over that in light of growing safety concerns around the AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 vaccine.

"There are worries the drug is connected to blood clots so some countries have stopped distributing it for now.

"It seems the recovery trade has hit a small bump in the road so that is contributing to the mildly bearish mood.

"The FTSE 100 is in the red as commodity stocks BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Group are weighing on the index," Madden noted.

Investors were earlier 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 4'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 rose 6.84% 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 0.5% firmer 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 27.68% 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 4.04% 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) 6,749.70 -0.17% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,522.35 0.07% techMARK (TASX) 4,187.76 1.05%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 16,880.00p 6.87% Kingfisher (KGF) 308.30p 2.49% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 217.60p 2.45% Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 117.60p 2.39% Fresnillo (FRES) 951.20p 2.26% Avast (AVST) 459.00p 2.05% Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,421.50p 1.75% Entain (ENT) 1,492.00p 1.74% Rentokil Initial (RTO) 475.00p 1.63% Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,224.00p 1.37%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Evraz (EVR) 553.00p -3.49% Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 283.00p -2.98% M&G (MNG) 219.10p -2.88% Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,597.00p -2.58% Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 721.60p -2.30% BP (BP.) 316.15p -2.26% Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,322.00p -2.12% Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,550.40p -2.10% Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,486.40p -2.08% BHP Group (BHP) 2,134.50p -2.06%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Drax Group (DRX) 406.80p 8.48% Hammerson (HMSO) 37.00p 5.99% Meggitt (MGGT) 488.80p 4.27% Trainline (TRN) 501.50p 4.05% SSP Group (SSPG) 351.00p 4.03% Indivior (INDV) 123.50p 3.96% Carnival (CCL) 1,758.50p 3.59% Serco Group (SRP) 130.70p 3.16% Frasers Group (FRAS) 492.60p 2.88% Computacenter (CCC) 2,274.00p 2.80%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Provident Financial (PFG) 189.20p -27.68% Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 109.70p -18.41% HGCapital Trust (HGT) 320.00p -7.11% Marshalls (MSLH) 682.50p -4.61% Playtech (PTEC) 428.60p -4.61% Ascential (ASCL) 356.00p -4.04% Ibstock (IBST) 219.40p -3.18% Diversified Gas & Oil (DGOC) 114.60p -2.72% Weir Group (WEIR) 1,823.50p -2.67% RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 4,000.00p -2.58%
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