Thursday's trading session saw UK stocks initially decline, only to rebound later in the day. The FTSE 100 stock index ended up trading 0.24% higher, bolstered by gains in retail and rate-sensitive real estate and homebuilder stocks. This turnaround came despite an earlier 0.7% drop ahead of the Bank of England's (BoE) interest rate decision, which reflected market uncertainty as investors awaited the central bank's announcement.
The BoE's decision to halt its series of interest rate hikes led to a significant boost in UK retailer stocks. The FTSE retailers' index surged by 3% following the central bank's announcement. The Monetary Policy Committee of the BoE made a narrow decision with a 5-4 vote, keeping the Bank Rate steady at 5.25%. This signaled a pause in the cycle of rate hikes and led to increased stock prices for several FTSE 100 members. Companies such as JD (NASDAQ:JD) Sports Fashion, Next Plc, and Marks and Spencer (LON:MKS) saw their stock prices rise between 1.7% and 8%, contributing to the strong performance of the FTSE retailers' index. With a year-to-date gain of 24.4%, this index has shown robust performance throughout the year, further bolstered by the BoE's decision.
However, not all stocks experienced gains on Thursday. Ocado (LON:OCDO) Group, a British online supermarket, saw its stock price fall by as much as 7.1% after Exane BNP downgraded its rating from "neutral" to "underperform." This made Ocado the biggest percentage loser on London's blue-chip index for the day. Exane BNP cited concerns about subdued growth in Ocado's retail business as the reason for the downgrade. Despite this setback, Exane maintained its target price for Ocado at 390p.
Earlier in the year, Ocado's stock had seen significant gains, with a nearly 24% increase in its value year-to-date. However, the concerns raised by Exane BNP have affected investor confidence, resulting in a drop in the stock's value after the downgrade.
Looking ahead, the FTSE 100 index remains bullish above 7640 and bearish below this level. If the index surpasses 7725, it opens up the possibility of reaching 7800. The primary resistance is at 7625, with a primary objective of 7858. Both the 20-Day and 5-Day Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP) indicators remain bullish.
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