Life Insurance was the weakest segment of the FTSE 350 even as risk appetite rebounded in financial markets around the globe, although strength in the pound continued to act as a headwind for UK stocks.
Dragging on the sector was a slump in shares of Prudential after the firm announced that it was mulling raising new equity of around $2.5bn to $3bn in Hong Kong or London, as it looks to increase its investor base in Asia.
Fixed Line Telecommunications was also a drag with stock in BT Group down on the heels of news that rivals O2, Three and Vodafone had inked a deal to extend their mobile coverage in the UK.
Another defensive area of the market that was in retreat on Thursday was Tobacco, with Imperial Brands lower after outlining its next five-year strategic plan at its Capital Markets Day.
Autos&Parts on the other hand raced to the top of the FTSE 350 leaderboard, as investors retained confidence in the ability of the Biden administration’s fiscal stimulus proposals to feed a strong rebound in US economic growth in 2021.
Beverages also fared well with analysts at Jefferies citing positive read-across for Diageo from the latest update out of India’s United Spirits.
Top performing sectors so far today
Automobiles & Parts 4,492.62 +3.89%
Beverages 23,017.28 +2.97%
Electricity 8,797.53 +1.78%
Industrial Metals & Mining 5,186.06 +1.60%
Industrial Engineering 15,074.76 +1.31%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Life Insurance 6,863.15 -4.12%
Oil & Gas Producers 4,776.76 -2.08%
Tobacco 28,981.38 -2.03%
Fixed Line Telecommunications 1,565.42 -1.75%
Health Care Equipment & Services 6,781.14 -1.65%