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US tech stocks rebound; bonds retreat; Tesla surges
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10.30pm: US tech stocks roar back
The Nasdaq led Wall Street higher, rising by 3.7% – its biggest single-day rise since 4 November – recouping heavy losses from the previous session as US bond yields retreated and investors mopped up battered technology stocks.
Traders also pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record intraday high but pulled back from earlier gains at the close.
Car company Tesla jumped 19.6% – the most in almost a year – while Amazon.com and Microsoft Corp posted the biggest single-day gains in five weeks. The tech stars suffered sharp losses in recent weeks as rising yields raised concerns over their high valuations.
Tesla’s rise and the uplift in other tech stocks will ease nerves among shareholders in Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust which has taken a big from the slump.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.10%, the S&P 500 gained 1.42%, and the Nasdaq Composite added 3.69%.
4.30pm: Blue chips’ steady rise
The FTSE 100 pulled back from its late morning surge to close just 11.2 points higher at 6,730.34.
Kingfisher, which is expanding into the Middle East, Avast and M&G led the market higher, while banks and miners were among the laggards as copper and iron prices fell.
Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust rebounded from recent Tesla-induced falls, up 61p to 1117p. M&G‘s maiden full year figures were rewarded with a 9.7p rise to 214.8p.
WH Smith shares rose 1.7% on a positive update while aviation services specialist John Menzies also flew higher, up 2.1% despite swinging to a loss.
Domino’s Pizza benefited from lockdown, up 8.6% after revealing a record rise in sales and announcing it will increase its drive-thru locations.
ITV initially dipped before rising by 4.2% despite a drop in profits by more than a third.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Standard Life Aberdeen, down 22.9p to 296.1p, while miners also suffered, including Rio Tinto, down 221p to 5819p, Evraz, down 16.2p to 583.6p, and Glencore, down 7.25p to 284.9p.
Brent crude oil fell back 0.6% to $67.83 per barrel.
3.40pm: Standard Life Aberdeen sells subsidiary
Standard Life Aberdeen has sold investment management subsidiary Parmenion Capital Partners.
9am: London makes timid start
The London market opened tentatively amid ongoing concerns over inflation. The FTSE 100 was trading 13.4 points higher at 6,732.55.
Cairn Energy fell 6.4% after announcing an operating loss and two big asset deals.
Baillie Gifford’s Scottish Mortgage Trust fell 2.4% after the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite tumbled 2.4% in New York on Monday. Scottish Mortgage holds investments in tech firms such as Amazon.com and Tesla.
ITV was one of the biggest fallers, down 7% as it reported a fall in 2020 profit and proposed no dividend for the year (see below).
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, said she sees positive trends for revenue and is encouraged by the roadmap out of lockdown.
Ms McCall said: “Good progress has been made in delivering our strategic priorities with the rollout of our programmatic addressable advertising platform, Planet V, to agencies to a very positive response; the acceleration of the transformation of the ITV Hub.
Cairn Energy deals
The Edinburgh explorer is acquiring Shell’s Western Desert assets in Egypt in a $323m deal and selling its UK Catcher and Kraken fields for $460m to Waldorf Production.
Standard Life Aberdeen
Standard Life Aberdeen posted a fall in adjusted profit before tax of £487m (2019: £584m) largely reflecting lower revenue.
Stephen Bird, chief executive, said: “We have seen growing momentum in the second half of 2020 with improved investment performance and flows which represent an inflection point as we pull out of the post-merger era.
Asset manager M&G posted a sharp fall in adjusted operating profit before tax to £788 million from £1.149bn which reflected infrastructure costs.
John Foley, chief executive, said: “In our first year as an independent company, we have delivered a strong and resilient performance in one of the most challenging operating environments ever.”
The cargo handling firm reported a £120.5m loss against a profit of £17.3m last time as the crisis in aviation ripped through the business. However, the company’s shares rose.
Rising bond yields hit tech shares and company valuations in China and Korea. Investors were also continuing to fret over inflation.
Korea’s Kospi fell by 1.88%, its fourth straight session of losses, although Japan’s Nikkei pared back earlier losses in the session to be 0.24% higher.