Investors shrug off weak retail sales data as FTSE 100 leaps
London’s FTSE 100 shrugged off weaker than expected retail sales data, with the blue-chip index planting itself firmly in positive territory in opening exchanges today.
The capital’s premier index gained 0.31 per cent to hit 7,049.48 points in the first hour of trading, indicating it could finish a choppy week on London markets up.
UK retail sales sank 0.9 per cent unexpectedly in August, driven lower by a combination of consumers shunning buying ingredients to cook from home and heading to restaurants instead and retailers struggling to put stock on shelves amid supply chain snarl ups.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “August’s retail numbers were hit by shortages, though the big retailers were able to flex their muscles to keep stock on the shelves.”
“An exception to the otherwise downbeat shopping trends were clothes and fuel, as people are out and about more they clearly care more about their appearance and are using their cars to get from A to B.”
Travel stocks continued their rise after more reports emerged today suggesting the government will simplify the travel traffic light system and scrap mandatory PCR test for double jabbed holidaymakers visiting the UK.
Gains on the mid-cap FTSE 250 were led by consumer stocks despite poor retail sales figures. The index was up 0.51 per cent to 23,752.60 points, while Aim shares jumped 0.61 per cent to 1,279.85 points.
The pound gained ground on the greenback, strengthening 0.17 per cent to $1.3811.
Winners and losers
Travel stocks led the FTSE 100 higher during opening exchanges, with the British Airways parent company IAG topping the risers table, climbing 3.58 per cent to 147.56p.
Aerospace engineer Rolls Royce added 1.89 per cent to reach 111.12p. Tui and easyJet, both listed on the mid-cap index, posted mixed results, with the former up 3.99 per cent and the latter sliding 2.29 per cent.
Industrial stocks extended their poor performance this week, with the likes of miners Anglo American, Rio Tinto and BHP all down more than 1.70 per cent.
Around the world
Asian markets ploughed into firmly into the green overnight, as sentiment toward the region’s economic recovery despite surging Covid cases strengthened.
Japan’s NIkkei climbed 0.58 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.03 per cent. China’s CSI 300 gained one per cent.
London’s strong performance was extended into the continent, with both the Dax 30 and pan-Europe Stoxx 600 rising during opening trading.
Wall Street closed largely in the red, apart from the tech-heavy Nasdaq.