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London close: Markets finish higher on lockdown easing sentiment

By Josh White

Date: Thursday 28 May 2020

London close: Markets finish higher on lockdown easing sentiment

(Sharecast News) - London stocks remained positive through to the close on Thursday, as optimism over lockdown easing helped to offset concerns about unrest in Hong Kong and a deterioration in Sino-US relations.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.21% at 6,218.79 and the FTSE 250 was 1.14% firmer at 17,338.48.

Sterling was stronger against both of its major trading pairs, last rising 0.47% against the dollar to $1.2319 and advancing 0.01% on the euro to €1.1142.

Sentiment was underpinned by the European Commission's announcement on Wednesday of a €750bn recovery fund.

Still, unrest in Hong Kong and growing tensions between the US and China continued to play on investors' minds, after China's parliament approved the imposition of national security legislation on the special administrative region.

"Everybody is painfully aware of the lockdowns, but as they are being loosened, the bullish sentiment keeps growing," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"The various steps taken to try and return to normal life are small, but they are significant as any progress is welcomed."

Madden noted that the positive mood in Europe was not impacted by the rising tensions between the US and China.

"Washington DC might impose sanctions on Chinese officials.

"In addition to that, economic pressure might be applied to Hong Kong - by treating it the same as China rather than a different entity.

"Beijing has expressed a desire to retaliate, so the situation is heating up."

In equity markets, easyJet flew 4.43% higher after it announced plans to cut about 4,500 jobs, or 30% of its workforce, as the airline prepares to restart flying with a smaller fleet and reduced demand as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

The company said booking trends on resumed flights are encouraging and demand for summer is increasing from a low base, while winter bookings are well ahead of a year earlier, including customers rebooking cancelled flights.

Cineworld surged 21.43% as it said it had secured fresh funding from its lenders and that it expects to reopen cinemas in all territories by July.

Flexible office space provider IWG was ahead 15.14% after it raised £320m in a placing "to take advantage of growth opportunities and strengthen the group's global leadership position".

Diageo reversed earlier losses to finish up 1.22%, even after a downgrade to 'neutral' at Citi.

On the downside, Rolls-Royce slumped 8.11% after AKO Capital sold 96.7m shares in the aerospace and defence giant via a bookbuild to institutional investors at 318p each.

Asia-focused Standard Chartered was off 4.69% and HSBC lost 3.09%, amid the unrest in Hong Kong.

Elsewhere, Signature Aviation closed down 4.31% after a downgrade to 'sell' at Berenberg.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,218.79 1.21%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,338.48 1.14%
techMARK (TASX) 3,767.38 2.28%

FTSE 100 - Risers

M&G (MNG) 150.00p 7.14%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,591.50p 6.99%
Evraz (EVR) 290.70p 6.56%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 125.85p 6.07%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 532.00p 5.81%
Aveva Group (AVV) 4,037.00p 5.65%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,575.00p 4.97%
Fresnillo (FRES) 788.00p 4.95%
Halma (HLMA) 2,326.00p 4.59%
easyJet (EZJ) 740.00p 4.43%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 319.00p -7.83%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 392.10p -4.69%
Meggitt (MGGT) 295.00p -3.22%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 384.35p -3.09%
British Land Company (BLND) 397.20p -2.65%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,640.00p -2.15%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 118.05p -1.75%
BP (BP.) 315.25p -1.72%
WPP (WPP) 630.20p -1.65%
DCC (DCC) 6,690.00p -1.62%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Cineworld Group (CINE) 93.84p 21.43%
Marston's (MARS) 66.45p 16.48%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 57.50p 15.27%
IWG (IWG) 299.60p 15.14%
Bodycote (BOY) 644.00p 9.06%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 72.75p 8.66%
TBC Bank Group (TBCG) 823.00p 8.29%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 74.00p 8.03%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 320.80p 7.36%
Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 952.00p 6.97%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Clarkson (CKN) 2,335.00p -4.69%
Capita (CPI) 35.92p -4.62%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 166.20p -4.48%
Signature Aviation (SIG) 241.90p -4.31%
Greencore Group (GNC) 137.10p -4.13%
Ascential (ASCL) 278.00p -3.67%
Equiniti Group (EQN) 140.00p -3.45%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 248.60p -3.34%
Provident Financial (PFG) 187.90p -3.34%
G4S (GFS) 92.64p -3.20%

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