Michele Maatouk WebFG News | 21 Apr, 2017 14:53 | | |
London's FTSE 100 was flat at 7,117.67 in afternoon trade as investors digested disappointing UK retail sales data.
Retailer Marks & Spencer got a boost as Barclays initiated coverage of the stock at ‘overweight' with a 410p price target, which implies 14% potential upside.
The bank acknowledged that like the rest of the UK general retail sector, M&S currently faces some significant headwinds given weakening consumer sentiment and FX pressures on input prices, especially in the demand-elastic Clothing & Home segment.
However, it highlighted the fact that M&S Food has a good track record over many years, noting that the company is becoming increasingly food-focused over time.
In addition, Barclays said it sees plenty of opportunity to add more stores, 200 in the next two years on a base of around 600.
Equipment rental firm Ashtead was clawing back some ground, having fallen sharply in the previous session after results from US peer United Rentals showed rental rates were under pressure in the first quarter.
Aviva pushed higher after buying VietinBank's entire 50% shareholding in its life insurance joint venture VietinBank Aviva Life Insurance Limited and signing a new distribution agreement with VietinBank to sell life and health insurance products through its network of more than 1,100 branches.
Mondi and Smurfit Kappa recovered after declining on Thursday as their stock went ex-dividend.
On the downside, Rentokil fell despite announcing that its Rentokil Pest Control business has been awarded The Queen's Award for Enterprise for International Trade, recognising the business's outstanding achievement in global trade.
Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser was on the back foot after it reported flat sales for the first quarter.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 901.00p 2.39%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 359.50p 1.64%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,114.00p 1.50%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 294.60p 1.41%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 837.50p 1.39%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,601.00p 1.33%
Aviva (AV.) 513.00p 1.28%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,960.00p 1.24%
CRH (CRH) 2,705.00p 1.08%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 1,983.00p 1.07%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,462.00p -1.44%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,822.00p -1.25%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 239.40p -1.24%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,867.00p -1.17%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,190.00p -1.17%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 721.00p -1.10%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,575.00p -1.07%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,577.00p -0.88%
Kingfisher (KGF) 326.60p -0.79%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,323.00p -0.73%
The top flight index recovered some ground on Friday, but mostly on account of weakness in Sterling after German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly echoed other European Union officials, saying "the most difficult phase is ahead of us".
The focus in the coming week will continue to be on the ebb and flow of data out of the US, including Republicans' progress on securing passage of their tax cuts.
Wall Street is heading higher again on Friday amid news that Republicans were tweaking their proposed tax cuts in order to secure prompt passage of the US tax bill.
The chief executive of French planemaker Airbus will step down from his position in 2019 as the company announced a major shake-up of its management team.
London’s FTSE 250 was up 0.1% to 20,023.23 in afternoon trade on Friday as the Christmas lull kicked in.
Industrial production in the States rose slightly less quickly than expected last month, despite higher output of business equipment and materials.
Diversified mineral production and development company Strategic Minerals announced on Friday that, after the successful completion of technical and financial due diligence on the Leigh Creek Copper Mine company, it has agreed to continue with the acquisition on renegotiated terms.
London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3% to 7,469.23 in quiet afternoon trade on Friday.
International esports entertainment group Gfinity has been named as a preferred event partner to Microsoft for the forthcoming ‘Halo World Championship 2018’ for the next season, it announced on Friday.
Hutchison China MediTech, known as Chi-Med, has initiated the United States Phase I bridging clinical trial of fruquintinib, it announced on Friday.