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FTSE closes lower despite rebound after PM’s ‘road map’

PA City Staff
·3-min read

London equity markets dropped into the red despite receiving a lift late in the afternoon from the Prime Minister’s “road map” out of lockdown restrictions.

Hospitality and leisure stocks were broadly buoyed by an update which will see non-essential retailers and outdoor hospitality reopening from April.

Markets across Europe had been firmly in the red following a dour morning but ticked higher as the recover plan was laid out.

The FTSE 100 closed 11.78 points, or 0.18%, lower at 6,612.24 at the close of play on Monday.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “European markets have got the week off to a disappointing start as increasing concern about rising bond yields, and what they are telling us about the economic outlook is spurring some profit taking, particularly in US markets which are on course for their fifth successive daily decline.

“Both the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 are started to pare their losses after the details of the UK route map out of lockdown was laid out by the Prime Minister to Parliament.

“The oil and gas sector has helped in some regard, helped by the continued resilience in oil prices.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the major indices were also marginally lower as the German Dax succumbed to a new three-week low.

The German Dax was 0.19% lower and the French Cac moved 0.11% lower.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones opened a touch lower as traders continue to hold out for progress regarding President Joe Biden’s financial stimulus plan.

Meanwhile, sterling made gains against an uneasy dollar as traders also rode the positive sentiment regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The pound increased by 0.48% versus the US dollar to 1.408 and was up 0.15% against the euro at 1.158.

In company news, shares in security giant G4S tumbled after its two takeover suitors said they would not up their offers, bringing its auction to a drab end for investors.

Canadian security giant GardaWorld and US rival Allied Universal have said they will not be increasing their respective £3.7 billion and £3.8 billion bids, leaving Allied as the victor.

But shares dropped 26.4p to 242.6p after the announcement poured cold water on hopes of a bidding war.

Bread and cake supplier Finsbury Food Group slid lower after it revealed that group revenues fell in the six months to Christmas as caterers were hit hard by pandemic restrictions.

Shares closed 2.5p lower at 71.5p after it posted a 4.1% slump in revenues to £152.9 million for the half year.

Elsewhere, All Bar One-owner Mitchells & Butlers moved higher as it announced the formal launch of a £351 million fundraising exercise to prop up its balance sheet. Shares were down 14.5p at 337.5p.

The price of oil rebounded from last Friday’s lows as continued supply concerns outweighed any worries about demand.

The price of Brent crude oil increased by 2.67% to 64.59 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, up 12.35p at 178.1p, Rolls-Royce, up 6.79p at 105.45p, Informa, up 27.6p at 536.6p, and Compass, up 60p at 1,486p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, down 158p at 2,401p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 79p at 1,267p, Just Eat Takeaway, down 342p at 7,166p, and Smith & Nephew, down 58.5p at 1,415p.