Market report

Retailers and BT in focus for London traders


Christmas trading updates from top retailers provided a focus for London investors with fast fashion firm ASOS revealing plans to move to the London Main Market after more than two decades on the junior AIM.

The move would put ASOS in contention to join the FTSE 250 index and its shares jumped 11% on the back of a trading update. It gave a lift to fellow AIM stock boohoo which rose 6.4%.

Despite a positive update on Christmas trading, Marks & Spencer fell 7.9%. Interactive Investor analyst Keith Bowman said recovery has been flagged before at M&S and not come to anything.

“Competitors such as Next and Sainsbury’s are not standing still and working hard. Concerns about rising costs and supply chain challenges persist, and the dividend payment remains suspended,” he said.

Tesco shares ended 1.2% lower, despite Britain’s biggest grocer reporting a favourable festive period.

Housebuilder Persimmon slipped 0.5% despite posting a jump in revenues, with peers Barratt DevelopmentsTaylor Wimpey and Berkeley Group also lower by 0.03%, 1.51% and 1.67%, respectively.

On the upside, Wood Group rocketed 20.48% after the consulting and engineering company said it was selling its built environment division after a review and reported a fall in core profit.

JD sports took the top spot on the list of FTSE 100 losers after it emerged that the company’s chairman had sold off more than half of his stake in the business. 

BT shares rose 1.7% after reports that it is close to agreeing a deal to sell its sports broadcasting arm to US streaming service DAZN.

Reuters reported that the deal is worth roughly $800 million and would widen DAZN’s access to Premier League and Champions League bidding rights.

The FTSE 100 managed a final flourish to close 12.13 points higher at 7,563.85.

Equities in New York were mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.5% at the time of the London close. The S&P 500 was down 0.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.6% lower.

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst said: “Whilst the FTSE 100 has remained fairly flat buoyed by banks salivating at the prospect of rate rise boons it’s only Wall Street’s Dow Jones that’s really taking the day in stride.”

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