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London close: Stocks hold on to some gains amid further Covid concerns

Fri, 26th Jun 2020 16:33

(Sharecast News) - London stocks managed to cling on to some of their gains to close just above the waterline on Friday, having slid from earlier highs through the afternoon amid ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.2% at 6,159.30, and the FTSE 250 was barely more than a point higher at 17,113.21.

Sterling was weaker against both of its major trading pairs, losing 0.72% on the dollar to last trade at $1.2329, and sliding 0.65% against the euro to €1.10.

"Stocks lost ground this afternoon due to health concerns in the United States," said CMC Markets UK market analyst David Madden.

"The FTSE 100 is still up on the day, but it has handed back much of its gains as the US markets are weighing on sentiment.

"Lately there have been concerns about the rise of Covid-19 cases in the US."

Madden noted that on Thursday, it was announced that Florida and Texas decided to pause the re-opening of their economies, and on Friday Texas said it would order bars to close as hospitals were under further pressure from coronavirus cases.

"The development in Texas is worrying because re-imposing restrictions could become the norm.

"A big portion of the rally that equities enjoyed between late March and early June was down to the chatter that lockdown restrictions will be eased, and then they were eased, so now there are fears the process could be reversed."

Market participants were earlier focusing on the positives from the results of the Federal Reserve's stress tests, which found that US banks were "well capitalised under even the harshest" of downside scenarios.

"The Fed warned that loan losses in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic could hit a staggering $700bn.

"Yet Jerome Powell and co. didn't then announce any particularly drastic measures to combat this, banning share buybacks - something that many banks had already abandoned - while keeping dividends intact at their current levels.

"It seems that investors have read this tepid response as a green light to keep buying, if at a relatively measured pace."

In equity markets, British Airways parent IAG reversed earlier gains to finish down 2.28%, while budget airline easyJet lost 2.75% softer after it agreed a sale and leaseback deal for six Airbus A320neo aircraft for $255m (£206m) to Japan's SMBC Aviation.

888 Holdings soared 12.19% after it said that full-year earnings will be "significantly ahead" of expectations after sales leapt during the first six months of 2020.

Tesco reversed earlier losses to close up 1.9%, after it reported a 9.2% rise in UK and Ireland total first quarter sales, driven by a sharp increase in online shopping, but said it expects a loss of between £175m and £200m at its banking unit, after increasing its potential bad debt provisions.

Aston Martin Lagonda shares sank 18.43% after the luxury car maker said it would sell new shares representing almost 20% of its existing share capital to get through the Covid-19 crisis and destocking by dealers.

Shopping centre owner Hammerson was under the cosh by 12.64%, while British Land also fell 1.44% as peer Intu Properties said it is likely to call in administrators after failing to reach a standstill agreement with its lenders.

Intu shares plunged 54.48% by the end of trading on Friday.

JD Sports Fashion was 1.54% weaker, with traders pointing to read-across from disappointing quarterly results from Nike overnight.

In broker note action, InterContinental Hotels was boosted 1.83% by an initiation of coverage at 'buy' by Peel Hunt, while Rentokil Initial was up 2.22% after an upgrade to 'overweight' at JPMorgan.

Shares of self-storage company Safestore were knocked 0.13% lower by a downgrade to 'hold' at Berenberg, while housebuilder Crest Nicholson was on the back foot by 2.55% after a downgrade to 'hold' at Jefferies.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,159.30 0.20%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,113.21 0.01%
techMARK (TASX) 3,710.46 0.28%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,300.00p 3.92%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,636.00p 2.81%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,195.00p 2.57%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 10,020.00p 2.54%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 763.60p 2.47%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 533.00p 2.30%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,522.50p 2.28%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 510.80p 2.22%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,033.00p 2.21%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,096.50p 2.09%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,105.00p -3.77%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 285.00p -3.52%
BT Group (BT.A) 114.55p -2.59%
Evraz (EVR) 290.00p -2.52%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 221.80p -2.33%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 554.20p -2.26%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 31.08p -1.69%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 625.60p -1.54%
Barclays (BARC) 110.98p -1.46%
British Land Company (BLND) 383.50p -1.44%

FTSE 250 - Risers

888 Holdings (888) 169.40p 12.19%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,090.00p 5.37%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 905.50p 5.23%
Savills (SVS) 852.50p 5.05%
Royal Mail (RMG) 165.00p 4.76%
Capita (CPI) 45.28p 4.26%
Greggs (GRG) 1,684.00p 4.02%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 76.00p 3.97%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 739.00p 3.65%
Hays (HAS) 121.90p 3.31%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 50.90p -18.43%
Hammerson (HMSO) 82.12p -12.64%
Trainline (TRN) 431.80p -7.10%
Just Group (JUST) 52.40p -6.34%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 91.04p -5.19%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 361.90p -5.14%
PayPoint (PAY) 637.00p -4.61%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,386.00p -4.56%
Investec (INVP) 156.75p -4.42%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 64.08p -3.75%

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