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FTSE 100 Live 23 April: Another record close amid interest rate cut hopes, Tesla results in focus

FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)
FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)

The FTSE 100 index set a new intraday high this morning after recording an all-time record close last night.

The progress follows a strong session on Wall Street as tech stocks including Nvidia returned to favour.

Today’s top performing London stocks are Primark owner AB Foods after a strong update and JD Sports Fashion following a US acquisition.

FTSE 100 Live Tuesday

  • FTSE 100 hits intraday high

  • Private sector sees growth spurt

  • JD Sports unveils $1bn deal

Busy day tomorrow

Tuesday 23 April 2024 18:25 , Daniel O'Boyle

There’s a lot about tomorrow, with Lloyds and Reckitt among the highlights.

Results

Warpaint London

ADVERTISEMENT

Star Energy

Sanderson Design

Tracsis

 

Trading updates

Abrdn

PZ Cussons

Reckitt Benckiser

PayPoint

Lloyds Bank

Bunzl

Fresnillo

Heathrow Airport

Quilter

Breedon

 

US results

Meta

Boeing

Ford

IBM

AT&T

 

Economics

Australia inflation

US crude oil inventories

Another record FTSE close

Tuesday 23 April 2024 16:36 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 closed at 8,044.81 today, another record end-of-day figure.

The index also hit an intraday high of 8074.69 around noon.

London’s top flight was up 0.3% for the day.

AB Foods and Ocado were the top risers, both up more than 6%.

Post Office sought to make Horizon bugs sound ‘non-emotive’, inquiry told

Tuesday 23 April 2024 16:10 , Daniel O'Boyle

Former Post Office chief Paula Vennells did not want to use the word “bugs” when referencing the faulty Horizon system in an “Orwellian” move to sound “non-emotive”, an inquiry has heard.

Susan Crichton, the Post Office’s general counsel before resigning in 2013, giving evidence at the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, agreed that seeking to change the language demonstrated “an element of smoke and mirrors”.

The inquiry heard that in July 2013, the Post Office’s Ms Vennells had asked her “computer literate” husband for an alternative word to describe a computer bug.

Read more here

City watchdog to extend anti-greenwashing investment rules

Tuesday 23 April 2024 15:43 , Daniel O'Boyle

The City watchdog has launched proposals for extending sustainability rules to a wider scope of investment products to tackle greenwashing.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced new measures in November aimed at protecting retail investors by ensuring the investment products and services accurately described their sustainability goals.

This included an anti-greenwashing rule requiring all firms to ensure claims are fair, clear and not misleading, which is set to come into force from May 31.

Read more here

What is behind the FTSE 100 record high and what does it mean?

Tuesday 23 April 2024 14:55 , Daniel O'Boyle

The UK’s top stock market index hit a new all-time high on Tuesday, as investors were buoyed by hopes of interest rate cuts and an easing in geopolitical tensions.

The FTSE 100 hit 8,076.52 points on Tuesday morning, surpassing a previous record of 8,047.06 in February 2023.

The PA news agency looks at what is behind the rise and what it means:

US stocks up ahead of big results

Tuesday 23 April 2024 14:37 , Daniel O'Boyle

US stocks are higher today, ahead of a busy few days of results.

The S&P 500 is up 0.45% to 5,029.37, the Dow Jones is up 0.2% to 38,318.65, and the Nasdaq is up 0.5% to 15,527.89.

Tesla will reports its results after market close today, becoming the first of the “magnificent seven” to do so. The carmaker’s place in the ultra-blue-chip group has come into question of late, as its stock fell by 40% this year,

Meta, Microsoft and Alphabet are reporting later this week.

Theo Paphitis: “I turned down Dragons’ Den at first - now I’m passionate about helping small businesses"

Tuesday 23 April 2024 14:32 , Daniel O'Boyle

Theo Paphitis turned down the chance to be on the Dragons’ Den when producers first called: “I [blew a raspberry] down the phone and said, ‘I’m not going to go on television!”, the retail tycoon admitted today.

The small business champion, who owns Ryman, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue, eventually joined the hit BBC show in 2005, staying for eight years and becoming one of its biggest stars.

“But when they called and asked me to go for an audition, I responded, ‘I can’t do an audition - I’m not an actor!’,” Paphitis told a packed audience at SME XPO, the Evening Standard’s annual event for start-ups and scale-ups.

Read more here

Cash to switch offers on current accounts disappear

Tuesday 23 April 2024 14:20 , Daniel O'Boyle

Current account customers looking to switch their provider will find that several offers of free cash have recently vanished, according to a financial information website.

A £175 switching offer from First Direct which launched on March 26 ended on Monday.

Website Moneyfactscompare.co.uk said several other banks, including HSBC, NatWest, Lloyds Bank and Santander, have recently ended offers of cash to switch.

Read more here

FTSE slips back after record

Tuesday 23 April 2024 13:59 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 slipped back after hitting a record high earlier this morning, briefly dipping into negative territory.

It is back in positive territory currently at 8,035.72, meaning it is on for another record close, but it is no longer at levels that had never been seen before today.

Fall in inflation doesn't mean we should cut interest rates, Bank of England's Pill says

Tuesday 23 April 2024 13:55 , Daniel O'Boyle

The recent fall in inflation towards the 2% target is not necessarily enough reason for the Bank of England to start cutting interest rates, and it would be better to cut too late than too early, the Bank of England’s deputy governor Huw Pill said today.

Speaking at the University of Chicago, the economist - one of nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee that sets interest rates - said that little had changed in his view of the inflation and interest rate situation since late March.

Read more here

125 buyers sign up for apartments at £2bn 'London's most luxurious address'

Tuesday 23 April 2024 13:08 , Daniel O'Boyle

More than 120 buyers have registered for apartments at the £2 billion ultra-luxury Mayfair development being built by mobile phones tycoon John Caudwell.

New images of the scheme, called 1 Mayfair, were released today to mark the passing of the 65% build completion landmark. The 125 sign up for Caudwell apartments 300,000 sq ft eight-storey development is on schedule to be completed at the end of 2025 after nine years of construction.

Caudwell boasts that the apartments are “London’s most luxurious development”.

Read more here

City Voices: How do we secure London's future as a tech hub? It starts with our people

Tuesday 23 April 2024 12:27 , Daniel O'Boyle

Russ Shaw and Gavin Poole give stheir gives on how to secure London’s tech futures

The London Mayoral Election drawing near presents an opportune moment to direct attention to the future of the capital’s tech ecosystem. London has proven resilient in its ability to weather global headwinds and economic uncertainties over recent years but, as it stands at the crest of a new wave of technological disruption, a renewed focus is needed on how the capital can stay ahead of the rapidly evolving and increasingly digital landscape.

London’s credentials as a tech leader remain very strong. The capital ranks joint second globally in terms of the best start-up ecosystems for tech companies, behind only Silicon Valley. It continues to lead as Europe’s number one tech hub, with London start-ups raising almost as much investment last year as the next three European cities (Paris, Stockholm, and Berlin) combined. In 2023, London companies collectively raised over £10.14b in VC investment, representing a triumphant return to pre-pandemic levels.

Read more here

NatWest boss admits ‘unexpected challenges’ for bank in 2023

Tuesday 23 April 2024 12:01 , Daniel O'Boyle

The chairman of NatWest has said the banking sector is “evolving rapidly” as he acknowledged that the lender faced “unexpected challenges” during 2023.

Rick Haythornthwaite, who stepped into the role earlier this month, addressed the bank’s shareholders at its annual general meeting (AGM) on Tuesday.

He said: “Clearly 2023 was an exceptional year, that brought challenges for our customers, our sector, and the economy, as families and businesses faced into the fastest rate rise cycle since the 1970s with persistently high levels of inflation.

“The year brought unexpected challenges for the bank but our foundations and performance are strong – in fact profits for 2023 were at the highest level they have been since before the 2008 financial crisis.”

Read more here

Summer interest rate cut hopes power FTSE to record high

Tuesday 23 April 2024 11:18 , Daniel O'Boyle

The London stock market powered on to a new all-time high this morning on growing confidence that the Bank of England will start cutting interest rates this summer.

The FTSE 100 index of leading company shares jumped to a new intra-day record of 8,076, up 53 points in early trading, before settling back a little.

The new benchmark comes hard on the heels of a strong session yesterday when the FTSE 100 ended at a closing high of 8,023, 128 points higher. The mood of optimism was further boosted by strong PMI business survey numbers showing output growing at its fastest rate since May 2023.

Read more here

PureGym to open more UK sites as expansion drives higher sales

Tuesday 23 April 2024 10:51 , Daniel O'Boyle

PureGym has said it plans to keep expanding with new gyms after opening 40 across the UK over the past year.

It came as the gym operator said the new sites helped drive a rise in revenues in 2023 amid a “challenging” economic backdrop for the business and customers.

The leisure company revealed that revenues grew 15% to £549 million for the year, compared with 2022.

Read more here

Billion-dollar deal to transform JD Sport's run into US markets

Tuesday 23 April 2024 10:30 , Daniel O'Boyle

A billion-dollar deal announced today by JD Sports will transform the FTSE 100 sportswear retailer’s run into US markets, and reversed the direction for recent major international merger news, with a UK buyer.

The Manchester-based firm is snapping up Hibbett for £878 million, or just over $1 billion.

The deal is expected to increase JD’s earnings straight away.

Read more here

FTSE 100 sets new high on more retail gains, Ferrexpo leads FTSE 250

Tuesday 23 April 2024 10:20 , Graeme Evans

A strong US handover today helped the FTSE 100 index hit an intraday high of 8076 before settling at 8042.47, an advance of 0.2% or 18.60 points on last night’s record close.

Ocado jumped for the second session in row, up 16.7p to 375.1p in a performance only beaten by gains of 9% for AB Foods and 7% for JD Sports Fashion.

Scottish Mortgage added 14.8p to 826.8p, while the London and New York-listed gambling business Flutter Entertainment put on 245p to 14,980p.

The retail sector also continued its momentum after yesterday’s strong session, with Marks & Spencer up another 3.4p to 260p and Tesco 3.6p higher at 294.7p.

Other blue-chip risers included Taylor Wimpey, which lifted 1.1p to 133.3p after reporting that the spring selling season was progressing in line with hopes.

The FTSE 250 index added 0.4% or 82.10 points to 19,681.49, led by Ukraine-based iron ore pellets firm Ferrexpo. The shares rallied 4.8p to 53p as it reported its best quarterly production performance since the invasion of Ukraine.

Finance chief Nikolay Kladiev said: "The ability to export through the Ukrainian Black Sea ports has been positive not just for our production and sales, but also for the morale of our workers.”

Elsewhere, the ID security and location software business GB Group surged 13% following a better-than-expected trading update.

GB, whose £700 million valuation makes it one of the largest stocks on AIM, jumped 33.2p to 292p amid increased demand for its identity products in the Americas and Europe.

London venture capital boss: We want to build UK-listed decacorns, but companies naturally 'seduced' by US

Tuesday 23 April 2024 10:16 , Daniel O'Boyle

The boss of venture capital firm Molten Ventures says he hopes to help build the next UK-listed decacorns, but the tech firms it invests in are naturally “seduced” by the US’ deep capital markets

CEO Martin Davis told the Standard that Molten wants to “build the next decacorns” - $10 billion companies - that stay in the UK and Europe when it’s time to IPO.

But he said: “Ultimately the business has to do what’s right for itself. You can see why people are seduced to go where the deep pools of capitals are.”

Read more here

PMI figures raise inflation questions

Tuesday 23 April 2024 09:50 , Daniel O'Boyle

While growth was strong, the UK PMI survey suggested the picture may not be so positive on inflation.

Input cost inflation rose sharply, mostly driven by wage costs linked to the higher National Living Wage.

Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence said: “Although selling price inflation cooled slightly, the upturn in costs alongside solid demand suggests firms may seek to raise prices in the coming months.

“While the improving economic recovery picture is welcome news, the upward pressure on inflation will add to concerns that a sustainable path to below target inflation has not yet been achieved.”

UK private sector grows faster than thought

Tuesday 23 April 2024 09:34 , Daniel O'Boyle

The UK private sector is growing faster than expected, the latest ‘flash’ PMI figures show.

The S&P Global Flash United Kingdom PMI for April came to 54, well ahead of the expected 52.6. That’s the fastest growth in 11 months.

Any figure above 50 represents growth.

the growth was driven by the dominant service sector, which recorded a PMI of 54.9, also an 11-month high. Manufacturing, on the other hand, disappointed by returning to decline, with a reading of 48.7.

Chris Williamson,

Chief Business Economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence said: “Early PMI survey data for April indicate that the UK economy's recovery from recession last year continued to gain momentum.

“Improved growth in the service sector offset a renewed downturn in manufacturing to propel overall business growth to the fastest for nearly a year, indicating that GDP is rising at a quarterly rate of 0.4% after a 0.3% gain in the first quarter.”

Is FTSE record a 'new dawn' for London equities?

Tuesday 23 April 2024 09:26 , Daniel O'Boyle

With the FTSE 100 at a new high, David Cumming, head of UK equities at Newton Investment Management, said: “The new market high has been a long time coming but despite the global uncertainty this has the potential for being a new dawn, rather than a short term blip.

“The UK is cheap, relative to other markets, while relative trends in commodity prices and interest rates now favour the UK’s company mix as the global tech rally fade.

“For the UK consumer, in the near-term things are looking up– with recent tax cuts, lower inflation figures and rising earnings. Retailers such as Tesco, with exposure to these trends, were notable upward gainers today.

“The recent rise in bid activity is a further positive valuation signal for the FTSE”.

Market snapshot: FTSE 100 at record high

Tuesday 23 April 2024 08:56 , Daniel O'Boyle

Take a look at our market snapshot with the FTSE 100 at an all-time high

FTSE 100 hits intraday record as AB Foods surges 9%

Tuesday 23 April 2024 08:37 , Graeme Evans

London’s FTSE 100 index today stood at a record 8070.55 after adding another 0.6% or 46.68 points on top of last night’s all time high close.

Primark owner AB Foods surged 9% or 225p to 2731p following today’s interim results, with the read across to Marks & Spencer helping its shares add another 2% or 6p to 262.6p.

Taylor Wimpey put on a penny at 133.2p after today’s in-line trading update.

Elsewhere in the top flight, Ocado rose 4% or 14.5p to 372.9p and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust improved 15.6p to 827.6p after yesterday’s recovery by portfolio company Nvidia.

The FTSE 250 index rose 0.3% or 60.52 points to 19,659.91, led by Ferrexpo after the iron ore pellets production reported its strongest quarter of production since the start of the Ukraine war. Shares jumped 4.2p to 52.4p.

Germany back in growth - PMIs

Tuesday 23 April 2024 08:34 , Daniel O'Boyle

The German private sector has returned to growth in April, according to ‘flash’ PMI figures.

The composite PMMI figure for the month came to 50.5, a 10-month high and ahead of the 50 mark that separates growth from decline.

, Dr. Cyrus de la Rubia, Chief Economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank, said: “Is the recession over? This is the obvious question which arises as the German Composite PMI has surpassed 50 in April for the first time since mid-last year.

“The answer is not straightforward. For starters, it appears that the recession was predominantly concentrated within the manufacturing sector, while the broader economy may have narrowly skirted such a downturn. Secondly, the headline PMI index for manufacturing fails to indicate any significant change in this regard, although output is contracting at a somewhat gentler pace.

“Lastly, and perhaps most crucially, the services sector is commencing the second quarter on a strong footing. Factoring in the PMI numbers into our GDP Nowcast, we estimate that GDP may expand by 0.2% in the second quarter, following an estimated 0.1% growth in the first quarter, both in comparison to the preceding three-month period.”

French private sector beats expectations with stagnation in April

Tuesday 23 April 2024 08:24 , Daniel O'Boyle

The French private sector was in stagnation in April, but that’s its best performance in almsot a year, according to the latest PMI survey.

The “flash” composite PMI reading for the month came to 49.9, up from 48.3 in March. That’s barely below the 50 “no-growth” mark. Economists had expected further decline with a reading of 48.8.

Norman Liebke, Economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank, said: “The French economy is back on track. The Composite Flash PMI reached its highest level in 11 months, with 49.9 index points taking it almost out of the contraction zone. The only reason for that surprisingly robust figure is the expansion of the services sector, which experienced an increase in demand for the first time since April 2023. The manufacturing sector stays put in decline due to a deceleration of activity.

“Overall, our HCOB nowcast model for the second quarter points to a recovery of the French economy, driven by the services sector.”

Grocery inflation falls for 14th straight month

Tuesday 23 April 2024 08:15 , Daniel O'Boyle

Grocery price inflation has fallen again to 3.2% in the four weeks to 14 April, the 14th decline in a row, according to Kantar.

Kantar said promotional offers helped to bring inflation down.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Worldpanel by Kantar, said: “We’ve been monitoring steady annual growth in promotions over the past 11 months as retailers respond to consumers’ desire for value. Deals helped shoppers save a massive £1.3 billion in the latest four weeks, almost £46 per household. This emphasis on offers, coupled with falling prices in some categories like toilet tissues, butter and milk, has helped to bring the rate of grocery inflation down for shoppers at the till.”

FTSE 100 hits intraday high upon opening

Tuesday 23 April 2024 08:04 , Daniel O'Boyle

The FTSE 100 has opened at a new intraday record, after an all-time high close yesterday.

London’s top flight jumped to 8,061.96 upon opening, well above the 8047.06 that it reached in February 2023.

Taylor Wimpey's order book falls further but web traffic 'encouraging' as house builders hope for house market rebound

Tuesday 23 April 2024 07:48 , Michael Hunter

Taylor Wimpey, the FTSE 100 house builder said today that its order book continues to be lower year-on-year, amid “affordability challenges” in the mortgage market.

But is also pointed to a sign of a potential rebound in the house market, with traffic to its website “encouraging. It also said: “There are good levels of visitors to our sites.”

The £4.7 billion company’s order book stood at £2.1 billion last week, down from £2.4 billion a year earlier. There are currently orders for around 7,700 homes, down from 8,600.

Jennie Daly, chief executive, said: “While we are mindful of ongoing market uncertainty and affordability challenges, it is pleasing to see continued market stability supported by good mortgage availability and sustained customer confidence.”

She added: “We remain focused on driving value and investing in the long term sustainability of the business, and we remain on track to deliver our guidance for 2024 while ensuring we are positioned for growth from 2025, assuming supportive market conditions."

Chancelllor could be 'disappointed' by public borrowing figures

Tuesday 23 April 2024 07:32 , Daniel O'Boyle

Ruth Gregory, deputy chief UK economist at Capital Economics, says Jeremy Hunt may be ‘disappointed’ by the public borrowing figures.

She said: “March’s figures show that public borrowing in 2023/24 came in £6.6bn higher than the OBR predicted only a month ago, casting further doubt on the ability of the government to unveil big tax cuts at another pre-election fiscal event later this year.

“Overall, if the Chancellor was hoping March’s figures would provide more scope for tax cuts at a fiscal event later this year, he will have been disappointed. Just based on the larger-than-expected 2023/24 budget deficit and the recent shift up in market interest rates, he may have even less fiscal ‘headroom’ (perhaps about £5bn) for tax cuts than the £8.9bn left over in March.”

The Conservative politician was one of 20 MPs and peers running in the London Marathon on Sunday (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
The Conservative politician was one of 20 MPs and peers running in the London Marathon on Sunday (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

FTSE 100 set to continue record progress, US markets recover

Tuesday 23 April 2024 07:27 , Graeme Evans

The FTSE 100 index is set to build on last night’s record finish, with IG Index forecasting a rise of 0.5% or 43 points to an intraday all-time high near 8066.

The rise follows a better session on Wall Street as the S&P 500 index and Nasdaq Composite recovered from recent tech selling by climbing 0.9% and 1.1% respectively.

Nvidia put back 4% after Friday’s fall of 10% but Tesla shares remained under pressure ahead of tonight’s first quarter results, falling another 3%.

This week’s stronger showing by global markets follows an easing in Middle East tensions and some encouragement on the inflation front after Brent Crude fell to near $87 a barrel.

The progress of London’s FTSE 100 index also reflects the impact of a weaker pound on the appeal of overseas earning stocks.

Sterling, which has dipped on expectations it will take longer in the US than the UK to cut interest rates, stood at $1.2337 this morning.

JD Sports in billion-dollar deal for US sportswear chain Hibbett

Tuesday 23 April 2024 07:24 , Michael Hunter

JD Sports’ run into US markets picked up speed today as the FTSE 100 company unveiled a billion-dollar deal to buy Hibbett, a major leisure wear chain.

It values the American firm at £878 million, or $1.083 billion. The offer prices each of its Nasdaq-listed shares at $87.50.

Hibbett is over 75 years old based Birmingham, Alabama and has over 1,000 stores in 36 US states under the Hibbett and City Gear brands.

Régis Schultz, CEO of JD Sports, said: “Hibbett's footprint is highly complementary, adding a stronger presence in communities across the southeastern US, where we currently have a limited presence. It will also provide a stronger platform for the rollout of the JD fascia in the US.” He added:

“Financially, it accelerates our growth plans within the US and is expected to be earnings accretive from year one and before potential synergies are taken into account.”

More outflows at Jupiter

Tuesday 23 April 2024 07:14 , Simon English

The strife in the UK funds sector continued today as Jupiter Fund Management said it saw outflows of £1.6 billion as nervous clients yanked money from the stock market.

London shares being seen as poor value has been a problem for several years now.

Jupiter said positive “market movements” helped assets under management rise £2 billion in the first quarter to £52.6 billion.

Jupiter CEO Matthew Beesley has a big job on his hands to improve the sentiment of investors.

The outflows included £1.1 billion from the so-called Value team.

Other fund managers have faced the same problems.

March deficit is £11.9 bn

Tuesday 23 April 2024 07:06 , Jonathan Prynn

The Government borrowed £11.9 billion last month, down £4.7 bn on the same month last year. In the year to date borrowing has been £120.7 billion, equivalent to a deficit of 4.4% of GDP. Government debt is now 98.3% of GDP.

Recap: Monday's top stories

Tuesday 23 April 2024 06:44 , Simon Hunt

Good morning from the Standard City desk.

Most Thames Water customers demand only two things from their supplier: that clean drinkable water pours from their tops when they turn them on — every single time — and that the company deals with their waste water and returns it to the river cleaned up and in a fit state so that it does no harm to the environment.

They expect to pay for those two essential services and would accept that those bills will have to rise over time as costs go up in line with inflation. As we know Thames has a far from unblemished record on both those scores with bursts from ageing pipes resulting in far too frequent interruption to supply in London.

Now those same customers have been told that bills may have to go up as much as 44% by 2030 if those shortfalls and failings are to have any chance of being put right.

Customers could just about stomach that if it was not for the decades of poor management, dubiously complex financial engineering, and high levels of dividends to shareholders that have marked the corporate stewardship of Thames.

Yesterday’s new investment plan, which raises the possibility of bills going up by almost £200 over five years, will do nothing to improve that unhappy situation, particularly as it does not explain how shareholders, rather than just customers, will share the pain.

~

Here’s a summary of our other top stories from yesterday: