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What to watch: FTSE falls as Biden win is certified, Sainsbury’s leaps on sales surge and oil hits one-week high

Kumutha Ramanathan
·3 min read
London Stock Exchange. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters
London Stock Exchange. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and around the world.

FTSE falls as Biden win is certified

London’s blue-chip index the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) reversed its earlier gains on Thursday as news broke that US lawmakers have certified president-elect Joe Biden's victory, after incumbent Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in an attack that left four dead.

The FTSE 100 was initially in the green in early trading on Thursday, but then began quickly descending. Chart: Yahoo Finance
The FTSE 100 was initially in the green in early trading on Thursday, but then began quickly descending. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Among the laggards are HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L), which was one of the banking leaders on the index on Wednesday as news of a Democratic sweep in Georgia’s Senate race would help prop up president-elect Joe Biden’s fiscal expansionary efforts when he enters office.

Trump has also said there will be “an orderly transition” after Congress concluded the electoral vote count certifying the election outcome, according to PA Media.

Following the victories of Jon Ossoff and the Reverend Raphael Warnock, both Democrats, in the Georgia dual runoff race, the party now controls the House, Senate and the presidency.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) gained 0.3% in Frankfurt, while the CAC 40 (^FCHI) was also higher 0.4% in Paris.

WATCH: European stocks reverse early gains

US futures continue to point higher. The S&P (ES=F) futures was up 0.6%. Dow Jones (YM=F) gained 0.5% and the Nasdaq (NQ=F) was higher 0.5%.

Asian markets were largely in positive territory as they focused on the global economic recovery. While Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) gained 1.6% at market close, the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 0.3% on news that the Trump administration may ban investments in China’s Alibaba Group and Tencent. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) leapt 0.7% at market close. South Korea’s KOSPI (^KS11) headed higher 2.1%.

Sainsbury’s leaps on sales surge

Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) shares leapt on Thursday as it raised its profit forecasts after sales surged 9.3% in the run-up to Christmas.

The leading supermarket chain now expects underlying pre-tax profits of at least £330m ($449m) in its financial year to March.

The new guidance marks a £60m boost on forecasts released just a month earlier, with Britain’s last-minute Christmas upheaval boosting sales more than expected.

It comes a day after industry data showed supermarkets enjoyed their biggest Christmas on record, with COVID-19 doubling the share of online sales.

Sainsbury’s highlighted the impact of customers having to change their festive plans at the last minute, as COVID-19 cases surged and restrictions were tightened.

Oil hits one-week high

Oil prices have reached a one-week high as the immediate term outlook focuses on the Democratic sweep in the Georgia dual runoff race and Saudi Arabia committing to a production cut.

Brent (BZ=F) gained 0.7%, sitting at $54.59 (£39.47) a barrel at around 8.46am in London.

The crude (CL=F) standalone price hit $51.01 a barrel, up 0.8%.

“Commodities in general have done well on the back of the reflation trade since last year,” said Societe Generale in a note on Thursday. “The blue wave in the US and Saudi production cut should augur well for oil in the near term, though prices are technically overbought.”

-With additional reporting by Tom Belger

WATCH: What does a Biden presidency means for the global economy?