Michele Maatouk Sharecast | 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%
Stocks started the week higher on Monday, on the back of a stronger-than-expected reading on the Empire State factory index and amid somewhat hawkish Fedpseak.
Stocks on the Continent were little changed at the start of the week, save in Spain where the ongoing political standoff between the central government in Madrid and regional officials in Catalonia weighed on sentiment.
German multinational automotive group Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced on Monday that they would recall nearly 400,000 vehicles that were potentially fitted with a faulty airbag.
London stocks slipped on Monday as miners rallied on the back of Chinese inflation data, but Convatec slid after a profit warning.
Tom Enders, chief executive of French aeronautical giant Airbus, said on Sunday that he would be willing to step down from the role he had held since 2012 in an effort to safely guide the firm through ongoing corruption investigations.
Stocks have started the week higher on the back of a stronger-than-expected reading on the Empire State factory index and amid somewhat hawkish Fedpseak.
AIM-quoted machine-to-machine (M2M) communications provider Telit Communications confirmed it was in "very early stage" talks to sell its automotive division.
UK and eurozone inflation will be the big focus of the day, while the new reporting season kicks in with Asos, Bellway, London Stocks Exchange, Merlin Entertainment, Pearson and Virgin Money.
West Africa-focussed diamond development company Stellar Diamonds announced on Monday that it has signed conditional share purchase agreements with Gold Knight - a wholly-owned subsidiary company of BDG Capital - in relation to the proposed sale of Stellar's assets in the Republic of Guinea, as it had previously announced on 5 June and 14 August.
Near-patient molecular diagnostics company Genedrive announced on Monday that it has signed a distribution agreement with Sysmex Europe, a subsidiary of Sysmex Corporation, for the Genedrive HCV ID Kit and Genedrive platform in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region, with an initial focus on Africa.