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Stock markets surge on US vote and oil cuts


Wall Street finished on a mixed note as the Democrats won control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House for the first time since 2009, but amid violent scenes in Washington.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.44% and the S&P 500 added 0.57%, while the Nasdaq Composite was 0.61% weaker.

London stocks enjoyed their best day for more than a year, powered by energy companies and banks.

Prices were driven higher following Saudi Arabia’s surprise announcement that it would trim production by 1m barrels a day in February and March.

BP, Royal Dutch Shell ‘A’ and ‘B’ shares closed up 6.4%, 5.9% and 7% respectively as Brent crude was quoted at $54.22 a barrel, trading at its highest levels since last February.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: “At the current price of around $54 per barrel, Brent crude is still some way off its opening price in 2020 of $67, although significantly higher than the April nadir when it was trading at around $20.”

The FTSE 100 index closed up 229.61 points, or 3.5%, at 6,841.86. The mid-cap FTSE 250, a more accurate reflection of the UK economy was up 1.2%.

FTSE 100 soared through 6800

Maersk oil field

Banking stocks also rallied, shrugging off any economic concerns about the UK’s fresh lockdown.

HSBC closed up 9.9%, Standard Chartered, up 9.5%, Barclays, up 8.3% and NatWest (RBS), up 6.6%

Nucleus grows assets

Nucleus Financial, currently in potential takeover talks, has grown assets under administration by 8.1% to £17.4bn in the latest quarter.

The Edinburgh-based wrap platform said that over the same period the FTSE All-Share Index increased 11.9% and fell by 12.5% year-on-year.

Chief executive David Ferguson said: “Our springtime decision to continue investing through the pandemic has allowed us to enter 2021 with great momentum, albeit remaining cognisant of the ongoing uncertainty in the external environment.”

Three of four potential bidders for the company have withdrawn their interest and means James Hay’s private equity owner Epris is now the only potential bidder left in the talks that were confirmed early last month.

8.15am: FTSE 100 maintains upward trend

The FTSE 100 continued this week’s rise, adding 38.5 points to trade at 6,650.76 at the open.

8am: Financial services Brexit talks

The UK is set for only a “bare bones” agreement in forthcoming Brexit talks on the City of London’s future relationship with the EU, according to industry insiders close to the talks.

Treasury minister John Glen is set to lead post-Brexit talks with the EU this week to strike a “memorandum of understanding” that will guide future regulatory cooperation on financial services, reports City AM.

Tokyo 2020

7am: Aggreko Olympics deal increased

Temporary power firm Aggreko has agreed a revised contract with the organising committee of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to reflect the impact of the delay of the Games into this year.

Full story here

Greggs expects loss


Government support has enabled fast food chain Greggs to limit its expected full year loss before tax to “up to £15m”.

Full story

Smart Metering Systems dividends

As previously announced, SMS said it intends to pay a 25p per share dividend in respect of FY 2020. The first of three interim dividend instalments of 6.25p was paid on 29 October.

SMS will pay a second interim cash dividend of 6.25p per share on 28 January to shareholders on the register at 8 January.

Retail prices fall

Shop prices fell in December by 1.8%, the same rate of decline as in November. This is below the 12- and 6-month average price decreases of 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively, according to the British Retail Consortium.


The FTSE 100 was expected to rise 36 points at the open after ending Tuesday’s session 40 points higher at 6,612.

Expectations for a positive open in London followed a solid performance for US markets overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 0.55% higher while the S&P 500 climbed 0.71% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.95%.

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