Economic news

Commodity Stocks, Strong Retail Sales Boost UK's FTSE 100

  • UK retail sales rise by 0.8% in October
  • Travel stocks weigh on mid-caps
  • Ryanair slips on plans to drop London listing
  • FTSE 100 up 0.4%, FTSE 250 off 0.1%

London's FTSE 100 rose on Friday after a three-day slump, driven by commodity stocks and better-than-expected retail sales data that helped allay economic slowdown worries.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 gained 0.4% in morning trade, with miners BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American among the top boosts, as metal prices jumped on fears of tightening supply in China after a smelter stopped production following an explosion.

Oil stocks added 0.5% following wild swings on Thursday, as investors looked past possible release of reserves by the world's major economies.

Data showed auction houses and shoppers seeking new clothes for the Christmas holidays lifted British retail sales in October by more than expected, adding to recent signs that a slowdown in the economy might have abated slightly.

Retailers like WH Smith PLC and Ocado Group were up 1.4% and 6.4%, respectively.

"People are bringing forward purchases they would have made in November and December. Consumers are being very cautious because of the uncertainty around the economy, high inflation, squeezing household incomes, squeezing disposable incomes and higher taxes," said Craig Erlam, analyst at Oanda.

"We should not get carried away with today's retail sales figures because it's not indicative of a big consumer driven rebound to come."

Recovery in the UK's FTSE 100 has been far slower than among its European peers, adding just 12.3% this year in comparison to the 22.7% increase in the pan-European STOXX 600.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index fell 0.1%, with travel stocks EasyJet and Wizz Air among the worst performers after Credit Suisse cut EasyJet's target price amid concerns of rising COVID-19 infection rates in Europe.

Home improvement retailer Kingfisher fell 5% after reporting a 2.4% fall in like-for-like sales in the three months to Oct. 31. 

Ryanair slipped 0.9% after it gave notice of its intention to delist from the London Stock Exchange next month, citing costs related to retaining an additional listing. 

FTSE 250 added 14.8% this year, FTSE 100 gained 12.3% YTD

Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Shailesh Kuber

Source: Reuters

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