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London close: Stocks finish weaker after ‘quiet’ trading session

(Sharecast News) – London stocks had slipped into negative territory by the close on Wednesday, with investors sifting through a raft of corporate updates amid ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 crisis.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.13% at 6,745.52, and the FTSE 250 was 0.47% weaker at 20,616.31.

Sterling was in a mixed state, last falling 0.33% against the dollar to trade at $1.3619, but advancing 0.18% on the euro to 1.1214.

“It has been a quiet trading session as there has been little in the way of exciting news flows,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

“In the past few days, the same news stories have been in circulation, vaccines are being rolled out, harsh restrictions are in place and hopes of Joe Biden’s stimulus plans being released.”

Madden said that markets should know more about the details of Biden’s spending scheme by the end of the week, with chatter that the package would be in the trillions of dollars.

“It feels like the lacklustre mood will not be shaken off until we hear what the future Biden administration has planned.”

In equity markets, Just Eat Takeaway fell 4.34% even as it said revenue rose by more than 50% in 2020 after UK delivery orders increased 387% in the fourth quarter.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said that while the results might look good at a glance, growth in the second half of 2020 came at a cost, with underlying profit margins dropping from 42% in H1 to 10% for the full year, “reflecting the substantial investments made in Q4”.

“It was this disclaimer that caused investors to send back their order,” he said.

Persimmon lost 6.21% as the housebuilder reported a drop in full-year completions and group revenues.

Other housebuilders followed suit, with Barratt Developments down 2.14%, Berkeley Group off 1.41% and Taylor Wimpey 1.14% weaker.

PageGroup declined 2.79% after it said fourth-quarter profit fell by a fifth as tough conditions and Brexit uncertainty in the UK weighed on the recruitment company’s performance.

On the upside, retailers were doing well, with Next up 2.74%, Sainsbury’s ahead 2.17% and Morrisons 1.77% higher.

Liontrust Asset Management surged 8% after it posted a 43% increase in assets under management over the last quarter and an 83% rise since the start of the current financial year.

Howden Joinery gained 2.77% as it lifted profits guidance after a better-than-expected performance in the final weeks of the year as locked down Britons spent more time improving their homes during the pandemic.

Gambling firm William Hill nudged 0.22% higher after it said net annual revenue fell 16% to £1.32bn, reflecting the impact of betting shop closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which is being taken over by US giant Caesars Entertainment, reported a 9% rise in fourth-quarter net revenue.

In broker note action, Intertek was lifted 1.33% by an upgrade to ‘hold’ at HSBC, while Electrocomponents added 0.88% and Ashtead was 0.74% higher after upgrades to ‘buy’ by the same outfit.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,745.52 -0.13%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,616.31 -0.47%
techMARK (TASX) 4,112.90 -0.95%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,577.00p 3.54%
Pennon Group (PNN) 980.20p 3.33%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 185.65p 2.77%
Next (NXT) 7,880.00p 2.74%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,573.00p 2.61%
DCC (DCC) 5,700.00p 2.33%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 240.30p 2.17%
National Grid (NG.) 874.40p 2.15%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,534.00p 2.02%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 9,142.00p 1.85%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Persimmon (PSN) 2,612.00p -6.21%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,676.00p -4.34%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 152.50p -3.42%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 499.00p -2.42%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 403.15p -2.34%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,994.00p -2.19%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 675.20p -2.14%
Entain (ENT) 1,391.50p -2.08%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 105.60p -2.00%
Informa (INF) 536.80p -1.97%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 1,350.00p 8.00%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 365.40p 3.10%
IMI (IMI) 1,301.00p 2.86%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 713.20p 2.77%
Playtech (PTEC) 481.30p 2.69%
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (DI) (VEIL) 601.00p 2.56%
Royal Mail (RMG) 370.00p 1.82%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 1,299.00p 1.65%
Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) 168.30p 1.63%
Capital & Counties Properties (CAPC) 141.20p 1.58%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,000.00p -5.12%
Provident Financial (PFG) 285.60p -5.05%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,676.00p -4.34%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 190.98p -4.03%
C&C Group (CCR) 240.00p -4.02%
Vesuvius (VSVS) 517.00p -3.99%
Marshalls (MSLH) 688.50p -3.98%
easyJet (EZJ) 764.00p -3.64%
Polypipe Group (PLP) 540.00p -3.57%
Sanne Group (SNN) 568.00p -3.24%Market

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