FTSE 100 outperforms as sterling remains in the doghouse on Brexit fears

Thu, 10th Dec 2020

Sterling remained depressed amid a downbeat mood on prospects for a Brexit deal which helped the FTSE 100 outperform other global markets on Thursday as it boosted the relative value of its overseas earnings. The index closed up 0.5% to 6,599.76. The more domestic-facing FTSE 250 was down 0.4% to 19,800.19 while other European markets were broadly flat as the European Central Bank boosted its stimulus efforts. In the US the S&P 500 was flat at 3,675.03 by 4.30pm UK time as investors awaited an FDA decision on the Pfizer vaccine. TUI's revenue for the year ended 30 September fell 58% as a result of Covid-19 restrictions over the summer months, but the travel operator is taking measures to be 'stronger, leaner, more digitalised'. According to its full year results, adjusted revenue fell from €18.9 billion to €7.9 billion, with an underlying earnings before interest and taxes loss of €3 billion from a profit of €3.9 billion on the previous year. Shares were down 4.3% to 422.6p. Ocado Retail's revenue grew 35% in the fourth quarter to £579.6m compared to £429.7m in Q4 2019, reflecting strong demand for online grocery, according to the company's trading statement for the 13 weeks to 29 November 2020. Average orders per week were up 3% to 360,000. The company said the growth was a result of the continuation of a smoothed trading week compared to the peaks and troughs that reflected normal shopping habits pre-COVID, and the seasonality of the quarter. Shares were down 6.9% to £21.65. Industrial products distributor Electrocomponents said it will raise £180 million via a placing of new shares representing around 5% of existing capital. A retail offer on PrimaryBid platform will accompany the placing. The money will be used to purchase Synovos, a leading supply solutions player in the Americas for around £110 million and Needlers a leading provider in safety, hygiene and personal protective clothing for £40 million. The shares added 3.9% to 847.5p. Retailer Frasers gained 13.4% to 498p as it increased the bottom end of its full-year guidance, forecasting a 20% to 30% improvement in underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), up from 10%-to-30% announced in August. For the 25 weeks to 25 October, pre-tax profit rose 17.6% to £106.1 million year-on-year, while revenue slipped 7.4% to £1.89 billion. Bus and rail company Firstgroup reported performance ahead of its expectations after reporting narrower first-half losses. The company also said it was in talks with the government over new contracts for its South Western Railway and Avanti businesses after agreeing a termination fee for the pre-existing franchise agreements that were put in place to provide rail transport during the pandemic. Shares were down a smidge to 68.9p. Automotive retailer Inchcape upgraded its annual profit outlook said it would consider resuming its dividend at year-end following better-than-expected performance in November as the impact from the national lockdown was not as bad as feared. The company said it expected pre-tax profit, excluding exceptionals, would be materially ahead of the published market consensus of £108m. Shares were up 5.6% to 666.5p. Technology company Computacenter upgraded its full-year outlook on profit amid ongoing momentum. Adjusted pre-tax profit for the year to 31 December 2020 was unlikely to be less than £190 million. The company said that positive trading seen in the 'second and third quarters of the year has continued into the fourth quarter to date and we have good visibility of our likely December sales. Shares were up 1.7% to £22.58. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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