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Retail and hospitality lead charge as FTSE has first rise for eight sessions

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(Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
(Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

Investors in the FTSE 100 finally got some good news on Wednesday as the index clawed back some of its losses, after more than a week of sometimes dramatic falls.

The index rose 1.2%, an 85.95 point increase, ending the day at 7,273.41.

But there is a long way to go until it makes up for all its recent losses. Since last Monday shareholders have nervously watched as more than 400 points were wiped off the FTSE.

The rise was led by several retailers, including Ocado, B&Q owner Kingfisher, and B&M European.

B&M was boosted by an upgrade from analysts at Barclays who think a discount retailer like B&M should be in good stead because most of its sales are from essential products.

Other strong performers included Whitbread. The Premier Inn owner reported a strong set of results on Wednesday.

“Premier Inn owner Whitbread is seeing some decent gains after reporting first-quarter sales well above expectations, as the travel sector reaps a reopening dividend, compared to a year ago,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“The UK hotels saw accommodation sales rise 235.6% ahead of last year and 31% above 2020 levels.

“UK like-for-like sales were also higher by 21.3% from the same levels in 2020, although food sales were lower by 4.3%.”

Shares in the business closed up 6.3% “due to optimism that the performance in the first quarter can continue into the second quarter and deliver a strong first half performance”.

Mr Hewson added: “In the travel and leisure space WH Smith shares are also doing well due to outperformance in its stores at transport hubs like airports, which helped boost sales up by 123% on the same period in 2019, pre-pandemic.

“Sales at railway stations were also higher, although high street sales were lower.”

Shares in the business rose 8.5%.

Away from London, other major indices saw similar results on Wednesday. In New York, the S&P 500 was up 0.9% and the Dow Jones had risen 0.5% shortly after European markets closed.

In Germany the Dax rose 1.4%, a performance mirrored by the Cac 40 in Paris.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil fell by 0.6% to 120.46 dollars.

On currency markets the pound fell 0.06% against the dollar, buying 1.2061, and rose 0.13% to 1.1607 euros.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 52.8p to 837.4p, Whitbread, up 161p to 2,727p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 43p to 734.8p, Pershing Square, up 135p to 2,480p, and CocaCola HBC, up 91.5p to 1,765.5p.

The biggest fallers were Airtel Africa, down 5.5p to 136.7p, BP, down 7.6p to 427.4p, Shell, down 37.0p to 2,271p, BAE, down 11.2p to 763.6p, and Reckitt, down 26.0p to 5,962p.

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