FTSE sheds gains as US tech fall tempers reopening cheer

(Update) The UK stock market gave up its morning gains after US tech stocks dropped back from record highs when Wall Street re-opened this afternoon.

(Update) The UK stock market gave up its early morning gains after US tech stocks dropped back from record highs when Wall Street re-opened this afternoon.

Approaching close, the FTSE 100 had drifted 31 points or 0.4% lower at 6,938 and the more domestic FTSE 250 index shed a similar amount, 31 points off at 6,938, with the FTSE Small Cap benchmark 23 points down at 7,102.

London-listed US and technology trusts slid as the Nasdaq tech index retreated 2% with investors cautious after last week’s advances in the mega cap ‘FAANG’ stocks after strong first quarter results.

Baillie Gifford US Growth (USA ), Edinburgh Worldwide (EWI ) and Manchester & London (MNL ) slid around 4%.

Allianz Technology Trust (ATT ) was a heavy faller but not by the 90% plunge many data providers showed, a ten-for-one share split exaggerating its decline as posters on the Citywire investor forum spotted.

The mainstream S&P 500 US index shed 1% to 4,417. 

09.54: Reopening trades lift FTSE

The FTSE 100 enjoyed a post-bank holiday bounce, driven by gains in travel and mining stocks that are benefiting from the accelerating reopening of the economy.

The main market was up 0.5%, or 39 points, to sit at 7,008 as the UK manages to push ahead with its reopening roadmap while avoiding rising Covid-19 infections. Oil and mining stocks were boosted by talk of a commodities surge, while travel companies were helped by the EU suggesting it will open-up to fully vaccinated tourists in the next months.

‘The catalyst for this latest move higher is chatter about a commodities super-cycle, with oil companies and miners higher as well as continuing optimism about the reopening of the global economy – with travel retail, and hospitality stocks also in demand,’ said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo (FRES) jumped to the top of the blue chips, gaining 3.5%, or 29p, to trade at 853p, while peer Polymetal International (POLY) was up 2.2% at £15.29. Oil miners were also winners, with BHP (BHP) up 2.2% at £22.32 and Glencore (GLEN) adding 1.9% to change hands at 300p.

Oil majors BP (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA), were up 2.2% and 2.1%, respectively.

With travel and hospitality companies daring to believe summer holidays could be saved, British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) added 2.8% to trade at 208p and Premier Inn owner Whitbread (WTB) advanced 2.6% to £33.29.

The FTSE 250 index wasn’t quite as strong as its large-cap cousin, partly due to a dip in sterling, which was trading down 0.27% at $1.3872. The mid-cap index edged 0.2%, or 49 points, higher at 22,546.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said the pound’s fall was ‘ahead of a final UK manufacturing PMI for April that is set to remain unchanged at 60.7’.

In parallel with the main index, travel and oil companies were the main winners. Package holiday group Tui (TUI) leaped to the top of the index with a 4.7%, or 20p, gain to trade at 451p and budget airline Easyjet (EZJ) was up 3.5% at £10.72.

Oil miner Cairn Energy (CNE) added 2.5%  or 6p, at 15p, gold and silver miner Hochschild Mining (HOC) was up 2.1% at 189p, and commodity trading and mining group Ferrexpo (FXPO) rose 1.8% to 446p.

CORD blimey

Cordiant Digital Infrastructure (CORD ) climbed 2.9% to 104.5p after upping its first-year dividend target to 3p per share from 1p and saying its five-year distribution target of 4p would also rise.

The pledge came as CORD announced the acquisition of a digital infrastructure platform in the Czech Republic and agreed to buy a Norwegian fibre network, deploying all but £43m of the £370m it raised at its flotation in February.

In other investment company news, Syncona (SYNC ) rose 7p or 3% to 244.5p after the life  sciences fund said the flotation price of $20-22 for portfolio company Gyroscope would lif the value of its stake by £52-£72m or 7.7p-10.7p per Syncona share.

Custodian Reit (CREI ) slipped 1% to 101p after a good run in the shares after the UK commercial real estate investment trust reported a ‘solid’ 2.5% first quarter rise in net asset value (NAV) with dividends included. With rent collection stable at 90% the Reit declared a 1.5p quarterly dividend and reaffirmed its 5p target for the year covered by earnings.

Foresight Solar (FSFL ) slipped 0.6% to 96.25p after joining forces with JLEN Environmental Assets (JLEN ) to commit £12.7m each on a project to build a battery storage facility next to FSFL’s solar park in Melksham, Wiltshire. This is FSFL’s first battery investment and JLEN’s fourth. JLEN shares were broadly unchanged at just over 110p.


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