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FTSE 100 lifts to 20-month high amid strong consumer firms

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The FTSE 100 hit another 20-month high as London’s market was boosted by strong showings by consumer, travel and services firms.

Commodity businesses regressed after their gains in Monday’s session but wider improvement in sentiment, and a number of strong trading updates, helped spark a flurry of excitement among traders.

London’s top flight closed 54.8 points, or 0.76%, higher at 7,277.62 on Tuesday.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “After a rather lacklustre start to the week yesterday, markets in Europe have kicked on with the FTSE 100 breaking above Monday’s peaks and putting in another 20-month high, as it looks to close the gap on the underperformance seen post-pandemic to its European peers and head back towards the 7,500 level.

“Once again, it’s been better than expected company trading updates that have helped drive the moves higher.

“Helping to lead the way we’ve seen decent numbers from the likes of Whitbread and Reckitt Benckiser who are leading the UK market higher.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the other major markets also leapt in value after mixed showings on Monday.

The German Dax increased by 1.01% and the French Cac climbed by 0.8%.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 continued their recent bullish spells to open at new record highs.

Meanwhile, sterling was shaky amid trading caution ahead of Wednesday’s Budget announcement.

The pound was 0.21% lower versus the US dollar at 1.376 and was down 0.16% against the euro at 1.187.

Entain financials
Ladbrokes owner Entain closed lower after takeover talks with DraftKings ended (Mike Egerton/PA)

In company news, gambling firm Entain slumped after US rival DraftKings walked away from its £16 billion approach to buy the Ladbrokes owner.

DraftKings had been given an extension to either place a firm bid or walk away from its move, before confirming to shareholders on Tuesday that it will not make a deal.

Shares in Entain closed 135p lower at 2,002p as a result.

Online retail group THG’s recent frustrations continued as shares slid again after its latest attempt to ease investor worries.

THG confirmed that it has hired recruitment firm Russell Reynolds to find an independent non-executive chairman as part of plans to move the firm to a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange and improve its corporate governance.

However, the announcement and an upbeat trading update failed to improve sentiment, with its shares dropping by 64.8p to 242p by the end of the session.

Consumer good giant Reckitt made strong gains after it upped its outlook for the year, saying that nine of its 10 best-selling products have grown by more than 10% compared with before the pandemic started.

The Dettol maker was up 318p at 5,789 at the end of trading.

The price of oil slowed in its gains but continued with its recent positive strides, despite OPEC+ plans to increase output next month.

Brent crude increased by 0.38% to 86.32 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were BT, up 8.05p at 143.25p, Reckitt, up 318p at 5,789p, Whitbread, up 138p at 3,293p, and Compass, up 54.5p at 1,494.5p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Entain, down 135p at 2,002p, Fresnillo, down 37p at 886p, Polymetal International, down 44p at 1,374p, and Antofagasta, down 43.5p at 1,437.5p.

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