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%
The UK economy's performance will continue to exceed forecasts but multiple headwinds will just about brake any further gains in the FTSE 100 in 2017, analysts at one of the City's top research shops said.
The number of oil rigs in operation in the US continued to climb last week, increasing by 11 to 758, according to the results of the most widely-followed survey tracking them.
Sterling managed Friday gains on the US dollar thanks to UK monetary policy hawks coming to the fore in recent days, but was otherwise down against a raft of commodity currencies.
Stocks came off their worst levels of the day as crude oil futures perked up and trading on Wall Street got off to a positive start.
Stocks in London laboured through Friday as sterling made gains against an underwhelming US dollar a day after PM Theresa May met with European leaders in Brussels.
Gains for steel and biotech shares saw Wall Street edge higher amid better than expected economic data and some dovish Fedspeak.
Private sector firms in the US continued to record a solid rate of expansion amid signs that economic growth might pick up again, the results of a widely-followed survey showed.
Activity in America's residential real estate market continued to hum along at a solid pace last month, the latest official revealed, amid sharp price increases.
Hayward Tyler updated the market on its discussions with Avingtrans on Friday, regarding the possible offer by Avingtrans for the company as announced on 31 March.
BMR Group announced on Friday that Peterhouse Corporate Finance had raised £0.35m - before expenses - by way of a placing of 9,333,333 new ordinary shares of 1p each in the capital of the company, at 3.75p per share.