FTSE sell-off accelerates amid bond market rout

Fri, 26th Feb 2021

The FTSE 100 closed the week on a sour note on Friday slumping 2.5% to 6,483.43 as panic builds about a sell-off in the bond market. The spike in bond yields reflects fears about rising interest rates if a recovery from the pandemic prompts rampant inflation. At least in the US stocks showed some recovery from yesterday's carnage on Wall Street with the S&P 500 up 0.3% to 3,839.12. British Airways owner IAG swung to an annual loss as the pandemic-led slump in air travel triggered a sharp decline in revenue. For the year ended 31 December, the company swung to a pre-tax loss of €7.43 billion from a profit of €2.28 billion year-on-year as revenue slumped on 69.4% to €7.81 billion. Its shares rose 3.1% to 192p. Property portal Rightmove reported a 29% slump in revenue after the Covid-19 crisis prompted it to offer a discount to customers. Rightmove said revenue for 2020 was £205.7 million, down from £289.3 million the previous year. Shares dropped 5.6% to 572p. RSA Insurance Group said underwriting profit rose 36% in 2020 to £550 million, its fourth record underwriting result in five years. The group said statutory profit before tax fell 2% to £483 million last year, driven by market impacts from Covid-19, bid costs, exits and restructuring. Its shares were down modestly to 674.8p. Fund management company Jupiter Fund Management reported higher underlying profit on increased assets under management as strong UK equities and alternative funds performance offset net inflows. For the year ended 31 December, underlying pre-tax profit increased by 10% to £179.0 million as assets under management increased by 37% to £58.7 billion. Shares rose 1.2% to 295.4p. Engineering company IMI reported a rise in profit as cost cuts offset a slip in revenue on weaker performance in its motion control and commercial vehicle businesses. For the year ended 31 December, pre-tax profit rose 11% to £227 million year-on-year, while revenue slipped 3% to £1.83 billion. Its shares fell 2% to £13.09. Pets at Home Group has upgraded its full-year outlook after a strong performance in the fourth quarter. Based on trading year-to-date, the company now anticipates full-year underlying pre-tax profit to be approximately £85 million, ahead of previous guidance of at least £77 million. Its shares climbed 4% to 398.4p. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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