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London markets make gains as travel and leisure firms rebound

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PA City Staff
·3-min read
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The London markets jumped higher as strong showings by airliners and hospitality stocks boosted the FTSE.

Early trading was cautious, initially ticking lower, before a confident start to trading in the US helped to spark a broad global rebound in sentiment.

The FTSE 100 closed 33.03 points, or 0.5%, higher at 6,658.97 at the close of play on Wednesday.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “European markets have had a much better tone today after a rather mixed session yesterday.

“What hasn’t changed is the underlying tone for travel and leisure stocks which are continuing to build on their recent gains with another strong session.”

The European markets were also significantly boosted by strong opening on Wall Street following a tough start to the week across the Atlantic.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “The Dow Jones was back in the hunt for a record close this Wednesday, shaking off a lacklustre few sessions ahead of the week’s House vote on the American Rescue Plan.”

The other major European markets also overcame reticent starts with the German Dax showing a particularly strong rebound following a rocky showing on Tuesday.

The German Dax was 0.86% higher and the French Cac moved 0.31% higher.

Improvement in the FTSE came as the price of the pound lost steam against the dollar having sat near multi-year highs at the start of session.

The pound decreased by 0.02% versus the US dollar to 1.411 and was up 0.04% against the euro at 1.162.

In company news, telecoms giant Vodafone slumped towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 after it confirmed it will press ahead with plans to float its European telecom towers arm in a move reportedly set to value the division at 15 billion euros (£13 billion).

The mobile phone giant said it aims to spin off Vantage Towers through a listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by the end of March.

Shares in Vodafone finished 4.44p lower at 125.5p.

Reckitt Benckiser dipped despite the Dettol maker reporting record growth on the back of soaring demand for disinfectants.

It told investors however that its sales growth is due to slow down to between 0 and 2% in the current financial year. It closed down 88p at 5,882p.

Lloyds Banking Group nudged higher after it saw profits tumble by 72% in 2020 amid the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Shares were 0.11p higher at 39.33p at the close of play despite it revealing that statutory pre-tax profits fell to £1.2 billion, from £4.4 billion the previous year.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell performed strongly after the price of oil rebounded following Tuesday’s sell-off in the face of the surprise one million increase in US inventories.

The price of Brent crude oil increased by 2.25% to 66.84 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were BP, up 15.3p at 298.8p at 298.8p, Rolls-Royce, up 5.25p at 111.9p, Land Securities, up 27.1p at 682.6p, and IAG, up 7.3p at 188.9p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Vodafone, up 4.44p at 125.5p, Rentokil, down 11.7p at 470p, Experian, down 53p at 2,330p, and Unilever, down 81p at 3,839p.