FTSE : 100 slips as virus fears outweigh gains in travel stocks
The blue-chip FTSE 100 inched 0.1% lower as gains in travel and leisure stocks were outweighed by weakness in heavyweight banks, which tracked benchmark bond yields lower.
Flutter Entertainment rose 4% to the top of the FTSE 100 even after its first-half earnings fell by 12% on a pro-forma basis as it continued to invest heavily in its fast-growing U.S. business.
Travel stocks have gained nearly 12% since the UK eased lockdown restrictions on July 19. The industry has been among the top sectoral performers this month on optimism travel demand would pick up pace, but still underperforms the mid-cap and blue-chip indexes.
“The outlook for travel and leisure stocks is kind of mixed at the moment, with most shares clocking gains but still being off their highs due to rising uncertainties regarding the Delta variant,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index climbed 0.3% with sports goods retailer Frasers being the top gainer, as surveys showed sporting events and the summer holidays prompted a big increase in British consumer spending in July.
The FTSE 100 has gained 10.4% so far this year on re-opening optimism and record-low interest rates, but a recent jump in global coronavirus infections and rising inflation have spurred worries that central banks could pull back support sooner than expected.
Among stocks, British insurer and asset manager M&G dropped 1.4% to the bottom of the FTSE 100 even after it posted an above-forecast 6% rise in first-half operating profit and said it was on track to meet its end-2022 capital generation target.
Title: Travel stocks on recovery path, but speed slow,
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
By Shashank Nayar