Retailers, travel stocks push FTSE 100 higher; Next surges

People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London August 25, 2015. — Reuters pic
People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London August 25, 2015. — Reuters pic

LONDON, July 21 — London’s FTSE 100 rose today, led by retailers and travel stocks, while Next Plc was the top gainer after it raised its profit outlook following robust earnings.

The blue-chip index jumped 1.7 per cent, with Compass Group, International Consolidated Airlines, Whitbread, and AB Foods being among the top gainers. The wider retail sub-index added 3.7 per cent and led the climb among sectoral peers.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index rose 1.6 per cent, boosted by a 3.8 per cent climb in travel and leisure stocks. Cineworld, Carnival, SSP Group, and EasyJet added 5 per cent-10 per cent.

Shares of the British fashion retailer surged 8.9 per cent after it said it had soundly beaten its expectations for full-price sales and, as a result, was increasing its profit forecast.

“Magic is already being spun by the act of re-opening… more journeys, more consumer spending, and a frankly sizzling housing market are adding to the pot,” said Danni Hewson, analyst at AJ Bell.

The FTSE 100 has risen 9.5 per cent so far this year, supported by cheap borrowing costs and optimism around economic re-opening, although a recent jump in Covid-19 cases and higher inflation levels have capped those gains.

A survey showed UK’s economic bounce-back from lockdowns cooled in June despite a surge in business for the country’s hospitality sector, echoing signs that the recovery has lost some of its pace.

Among other stocks, media group Future jumped 8 per cent and was the top boost to the mid-cap index after it said it expects its full-year profitability to be ahead of expectations.

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Royal Mail Plc dropped 1.9 per cent to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after it said fewer parcels were being delivered to homes as pandemic restrictions eased across the country, even as it reported a 12.5 per cent rise in first-quarter group revenue. — Reuters


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