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London midday: Stocks steady after Monday's losses; Kingfisher rallies

Tue, 22nd Sep 2020 11:39

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were a touch higher by midday on Tuesday, steadying after heavy losses in the previous session as investors mulled updates from the likes of Kingfisher and Whitbread.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 5,819.73, having lost more than 3% on Monday amid worries about rising coronavirus cases and tighter restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce later in the day a new set of restrictions including a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants in England and table-service only.

Meanwhile, cabinet secretary Michael Gove told Sky News that those who can work from home should in a shift from just a few weeks ago when the government was urging workers to get back to the office.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "What a difference a month makes - only a few weeks ago we were being implored to get out and about to help out. It's almost like they don't know what they are doing.

"While pub shares fell on curfew news, several earnings reports today highlight the uneven nature of the recovery so far, and the uncertain path ahead."

Investors were also digesting the latest comments from Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey, who pretty much ruled out negative interest rates in the near future but left the possibility on the table.

In equity markets, B&Q owner Kingfisher was a high riser after it posted a 23.1% jump in first-half adjusted pre-tax profit thanks to a strong sales recovery in the second quarter.

British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands were both up after an upgrade to 'outperform' from 'sector perform' at RBC Capital Markets.

Online supermarket Ocado and food delivery service Just Eat were also in the black as demand for both companies is expected to increase amid tighter Covid-19 restrictions.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals slumped as it cut 2020 guidance for its generics business following another delay in approval for the asthma drug candidate it is developing with Vectura.

British Airways and Iberia parent IAG and engine maker Rolls-Royce were both weaker for the second day in a row amid concerns about the impact of further restrictions on the airline industry.

Hotel and restaurant chain Whitbread lost ground as it said it was cutting 6,000 jobs after suffering a slump in trading due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Premier Inn owner announced the 18% cut in its workforce as like-for-like sales plunged by more than 77% as it felt the full force of the lockdown from March to June.

Insurer Beazley fell sharply after it said Covid-19 claims are set to double from the $170m expected in April, mainly due to event cancellation losses. The sector was also hit after the Financial Conduct Authority said it was consulting on a "radical" package that would mean loyal customers would not pay more for home or motor insurance than new customers. RSA, Admiral, Direct Line, Moneysupermarket and Hiscox were all weaker.

Pub chain Wetherspoons, which already suffered heavy losses on Monday amid expectations of a government-imposed curfew, was trading up even as boss Tim Martin announced that between 400 and 450 jobs will be cut from chains at UK airports.

Mitchells & Butlers was sharply higher, having also tumbled a day earlier on news of further restrictions.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,819.73 0.27%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 16,826.47 -0.26%
techMARK (TASX) 3,714.80 -0.24%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Kingfisher (KGF) 292.30p 10.43%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,414.00p 3.17%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,701.00p 2.90%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,764.00p 2.57%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 1,375.50p 2.57%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,537.50p 2.47%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,867.00p 2.28%
BP (BP.) 240.55p 1.91%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 981.50p 1.66%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,071.00p 1.47%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,423.00p -6.30%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 93.44p -3.87%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,041.00p -3.22%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 457.30p -3.05%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 155.80p -3.05%
Informa (INF) 359.80p -2.12%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,719.00p -2.02%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 502.90p -1.89%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 177.65p -1.85%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,186.00p -1.78%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Network International Holdings (NETW) 278.20p 17.88%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 129.40p 8.74%
Calisen (CLSN) 155.65p 4.46%
GCP Student Living (DIGS) 132.40p 3.44%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 993.00p 3.17%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 74.34p 2.94%
Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 253.00p 2.85%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 63.70p 2.74%
Allianz Technology Trust (ATT) 2,360.00p 2.61%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,764.00p 2.57%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Beazley (BEZ) 347.00p -11.03%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 283.60p -5.91%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 255.40p -4.70%
Sabre Insurance Group (SBRE) 246.50p -4.09%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 481.80p -4.02%
Hiscox Limited (DI) (HSX) 853.60p -3.96%
Provident Financial (PFG) 196.50p -3.86%
easyJet (EZJ) 476.60p -3.76%
Rank Group (RNK) 91.10p -3.70%
WH Smith (SMWH) 981.50p -3.49%

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