LONDON MARKET CLOSE: FTSE 100 moves green, midcaps halted by strikes


The FTSE 100 edged into the green on Tuesday, aided by a risk-on appetite from US investors who returned from a long holiday in a buying mood.

The FTSE 100 index in London closed up 30.24 points, or 0.4%, at 7,152.05.

The more domestically-focused FTSE 250 fell, however, as travel and leisure shares came under pressure from strike action. The mid-cap index ended down 61.77 points, or 0.3%, at 18,949.05.

The AIM All-Share closed up 1.23 points, or 0.1%, at 898.40.

The Cboe UK 100 ended up 0.4% at 712.55, the Cboe UK 250 closed down 0.3% at 16,659.78, and the Cboe Small Companies ended up 0.3% at 13,726.06.

In European equities on Tuesday, the CAC 40 stock index in Paris closed up 0.8%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt finished 0.2% higher. The CAC made stronger strides on Tuesday, having underperformed on Monday.

‘It's hard to find a reason markets have been so upbeat today. The jungle drums are still beating out their recession watch, there's no economic data to provide that much needed shot in the arm which can only suggest we're smack in the middle of a bear market rally,’ Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said.

‘US investors have returned to the floor perhaps still feeling the effects of a long weekend and they've brought their shopping bags with them. There are bargains galore but it's unlikely what's on offer today are one-time opportunities, or in fact that there won’t be more chances to buy what's on offer at an even better price.’

US stocks made more confident marches than European counterparts, playing catch up after being closed on Monday.

At the time of the European close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.9% higher, the S&P 500 was up 2.6% and Nasdaq Composite was 3.1% higher.

Among those leading the way in New York were oil majors, with Chevron up 4.0% and Exxon rising 6.6%, tracking crude prices higher.

Brent oil was quoted at $114.71 a barrel at the time of the closing bell in London on Tuesday, up from $113.70 late on Monday.

Gold stood at $1,839.99 an ounce, up against $1,838.66.

The pound was quoted at $1.2276 late on Tuesday, up from $1.2246 at the London equities close Monday. The euro was priced at $1.05658, higher against $1.0528 Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JP¥136.18 in London, up from JP¥135.03.

In London, DS Smith closed among the better FTSE 100 performers. The packaging company raised its dividend after strong annual results. Shares rose 3.7%.

For the financial year that ended April 30, pretax profit increased 64% to £378 million from £231 million the year before, on revenue of £7.24 billion, up 21% from £5.98 billion.

DS Smith declared a total dividend of 15.0 pence, up 24% from 12.1p paid out in financial 2021.

Looking ahead, DS Smith said it has seen good early momentum at the start of its current financial year, despite a more-challenging backdrop.

Miners closed higher. Antofagasta, up 2.9%, Rio Tinto, rising 2.2% and Glencore, adding 2.0%, were among the best of the lot.

Record ended up 7.0% after currency manager lifted its annual dividend following a double-digit rise in profit and revenue.

For the year ended March 31, Record reported a pretax profit of £10.9 million, up 78% from £6.2 million the year before, on revenue which grew 38% annually to £35.1 million, driven by growth in the group's managed assets, particularly in Record's higher revenue margin products, as well as a 37% increase in management fees.

Record declared a final ordinary dividend of 1.8 pence per share, bringing the total payout to 3.6p, up 47% from 2.3p the year before. In addition, Record more than doubled its special dividend to 0.92 pence from 0.45p the year prior.

Despite Tuesday's risk-off mood, the effects of strike disruption was evident in travel, leisure and retail shares.

easyJet lost 6.6% as some of its Spanish cabin crew will go on strike next month. The USO union in Spain said 450 crew members at the El Prat, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca airports will strike for nine days in July.

easyJet and USO have been in talks since February over pay, though the duo are in ‘deadlock’ now.

‘The company has no interest in negotiating the improvement of the working conditions of the crew in Spain, so that we have the same working conditions as those who operate in other European bases such as France and Germany,’ USO said.

Closer to home, strike action across UK railways kicked off on Tuesday, after last-ditch talks to avert industrial action failed.

Thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime & Transport union at Network Rail and 13 train operators will walk out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

WH Smith, which aside from its high street offering also operates stores in rail stations, fell 3.1% on Tuesday. Train fare selling platform Trainline lost 2.2% and Restaurant Group, the owner of Wagamama, shed 4.9%.

Wednesday's economic calendar has the latest batch of UK inflation data from the Office for National Statistics at 0700 BST. The ONS also releases its latest house price index at 0930 BST. Across the Atlantic, Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks before the US Banking Committee.

The local corporate calendar on Wednesday has annual results from housebuilder Berkeley, and half-year numbers from enterprise software firm Micro Focus International.

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