Royal Mail leads the way as markets bounce back from tough week

By By PA City Staff

The FTSE 100 bounced back somewhat from last week’s troubled performance as housebuilders and oil majors notched up a strong Monday.

The index closed at 7,068.43, up 39.23 points compared to Friday’s score, a 0.6% rise.

“European markets have got off to a positive start to the week, with the energy sector helping to push the FTSE 100 back up towards the 7,100 level, with BP and Shell outperforming, as power prices surge across Europe, although it still remains some way short of reversing the losses of last week,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: “To all intents and purposes, it seems like we have the beginning of another market rebound.

“What might be different this time is that we are in one of the most difficult periods for stocks, September-October usually seeing movement, but of the fleeting kind.

“Huge sell-offs are relatively rare, but even if the next few weeks follow the usual pattern stocks might find themselves able to avoid major losses, but find it equally difficult to make much headway.”

Royal Mail sat at the top of the index after a report over the weekend that it has agreed a deal with Amazon over a click-and-collect parcel service.

Rolls-Royce meanwhile hovered close to the top of the index after announcing a £189 million deal to sell its stake in AirTanker Holdings – a company which helps refuel fighter jets.

In Germany, strong performances for car companies Daimler and BMW pushed up the Frankfurt Dax index by 0.6%. The Cac 40 in Paris rose 0.2%.

Across the pond, New York’s S&P 500 was trading flat a little before markets closed in Europe. Its neighbour, Dow Jones, was up 0.7%.

Shares in Associated British Foods dropped 2.4% after it said that sales were “lower than expected” at its subsidiary Primark in recent months. It blamed a rise in Covid-19 cases for the problems, but also upgraded profit guidance for the year as costs dropped.

Sainsbury’s told customers and staff that it will shut all its shops on Boxing day to give staff time off, following similar announcements from Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

The decision will affect all Sainsbury’s supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol filling stations as well as Argos and Habitat. Shares dipped 1.2%.

Finally, FirstGroup, the transport company, said that it plans to hand back half a billion pounds to shareholders. Shares rose 3.2%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Royal Mail, up 14.3p to 487.4p, Lloyds, up 1.205p to 43.77p, Pershing Square, up 65p to 2,580p, National Grid, up 23.8p to 959.7p, and Rolls-Royce, up 2.76p to 111.94p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Auto Trader, down 19.6p to 622.4p, United Utilities, down 49p to 1,875p, AB Foods, down 46.5p to 1,923.5p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 32.5p to 1,368p, and Aveva, down 80p to 3,956p.


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