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ITV helps FTSE to gains as soaring inflation weighs on Wall Street

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Strong showings by ITV and Marks & Spencer helped London’s markets to outperform European counterparts and close the day markedly higher.

The FTSE’s strong session came despite trader worries over soaring inflation figures in the US, with rising fuel and food prices in its CPI data for October knocking back sentiment.

Wall Street opened lower as a result and tempered optimism in London and almost wiped out modest gains elsewhere in Europe.

The FTSE 100 closed 66.11 points, or 0.91%, higher at 7,340.15 on Wednesday.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “Markets don’t like surprises, particularly not when they come in the form of 30-year high inflation numbers.

“Wall Street opened down and stayed down, at least in early trading, though there is the expectation that electric van maker Rivian Automotive will help bring a little joy when it debuts later.

“Over on London’s blue-chip index, ITV’s surge in ad revenue and return of viewer favourites stand the broadcaster in rather good stead for the rest of the year and its shares streaked up to top the index winners.”

Marks & Spencer financials
Marks and Spencer saw shares leap after its profit outlook improved (Aaron Chown/PA)

The broadcaster hailed an “outstanding” first nine months of 2021 so far, with ad revenues already surpassing levels seen before the pandemic struck.

Shares finished 16.55p higher at 125.85p after it said total external revenues increased by 28% over the first nine months of the year.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 also moved higher as it was lifted by Marks & Spencer.

The retailer saw shares rise by 32.05p to 226.5p after it increased its annual profits outlook for the second time in less than three months after a sales rebound.

The other major European markets were more mixed as inflation concerns from the US weighed on trading later in the session.

The German Dax increased by 0.17%, and the French Cac improved by 0.03%.

Meanwhile, sterling lost ground slightly against the stronger dollar but remained fairly steady ahead of Thursday’s latest monthly GDP reading.

The pound was 0.01% lower versus the US dollar at 1.347, and up 0.02% against the euro at 1.169.

Elsewhere in company news, Halfords made strong gains as the cycling and motoring retailer bumped its profit guidance higher.

Halfords revealed revenues increased by 19.2% over the six months to October 1, compared with the same period last year, as it benefited from increased car ownership following the pandemic.

Shares in the business closed 55.2p higher at 333.8p.

Green jet fuel business Velocys saw shares soar after it inked new supply deals with British Airways owner IAG and US airliner Southwest Airlines.

The AIM-listed company, which was spun out from Oxford University, climbed by 2.1p to 8.4p at the close.

The price of oil moved lower on an unusually quiet day as the commodity and energy markets were preoccupied by inflationary pressures elsewhere.

Brent crude decreased by 1.16% to 83.8 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were ITV, up 16.55p at 125.85p, Pearson, up 21.8p at 634.6p, Fresnillo, up 32.8p at 959.2p, and Smiths Group, up 48.5p at 1,452p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Aveva, down 126p at 3,384p, Darktrace, down 10.5p at 599.5p, Intercontinental Hotel Group, down 66p at 5,154p, and Burberry, down 20p at 1,967p.

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