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London stocks continue streak of gains amid hospitality and retail boost

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London stocks moved higher again on Thursday (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)
London stocks moved higher again on Thursday (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

London stocks closed higher for the fourth consecutive day as hospitality and retail firms helped continue the winning streak.

Sentiment across Europe was also generally more optimistic as recent concerns over the potential for further Covid restrictions appeared settled.

London trading was boosted by strong retail figures from the latest Confederation for British Industry (CBI) retail survey as well as upbeat notes for a number of hospitality and leisure firms including Whitbread and InterContinental Hotels Group.

The FTSE 100 closed up 24.05 points, or 0.33%, higher, at 7,310.37p on Thursday.

The other major European markets also appeared to benefit from European Commission president Von der Leyen’s call on nations to step up vaccination efforts in the face of rising cases.

Joshua Mahoney, senior market analyst at IG, said: “European markets have enjoyed a relatively upbeat day today, with the lack of US involvement reducing volatility into the close.

“While rising Covid cases remain a key concern for mainland European economies, we have seen the likes of the DAX and CAC both gain ground.”

The German Dax increased by 0.25% and the French Cac increased by 0.48%.

Across the Atlantic, Wall Street was closed for the day for Thanksgiving celebrations.

Meanwhile, the pound moved 0.03% higher versus the US dollar at 1.332, and increased 0.04% against the euro at 1.188.

In company news, Vivo Energy leapt to the top of the FTSE 350 after it accepted a 2.3 billion dollars (£1.7 billion) takeover offer from its largest shareholder.

The listed Africa-focused retailer of Shell and Engen-branded fuels said it will recommend the offer from Vitol Investment Partnership, which already owns a 36% stake.

Shares in Vivo lifted by 20.6p to 132p.

All Bar One and Harvester owner Mitchells & Butlers made gains after the hospitality firm narrowed its annual losses.

The company, which also runs Toby Carvery, saw an improvement in sentiment despite a warning it is facing pressure from rising gas and electricity prices as well as food and staff costs amid supply and worker shortages.

Shares in Mitchells & Butlers rose by 8.4% to 244.4p at the close of play.

Omega Diagnostics shares plunged after it said it was “disappointed” with a lack of progress and commitment from the Government regarding Covid-19 testing contracts.

The Scotland-based medical diagnostics business fell by 10.5p to 29.5p after it told shareholders on Thursday morning that it saw losses widen to £3.4 million for half-year to September.

The price of oil was steady as traders digested the release of further oil supply earlier this week.

Brent crude was flat at 82.25 dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Compass Group, up 49p to 1,584p; Whitbread, up 84p to 3,108p; IHG, up 135p to 5,042p; Land Securities, up 18.4p to 766.2p; and St James’s Place, up 36p to 1,586.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Vodafone, down 4p to 114.1p; United Utilities, down 16p to 740.2p; Darktrace, down 9p to 479.6p; Imperial Brands, down 23p to 1,594p; and Ocado, down 25p to 1,749p.

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