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FTSE 100 regains lockdown losses | Pure Gym IPO doubts


5pm: Shares lifted to pre-pandemic heights

London stocks maintained the bright start to the session and hit a pandemic-era high following a strong performance by energy and mining shares.

The FTSE 100 reached a peak of 7,242 this afternoon, around 10% higher than it where was at the start of the year and recovering all of its losses since the pandemic took hold. The index closed 26.32 points higher at 7,234.03.

Among the big gainers were Just Eat Takeaway, British Airways owner International Airlines Group, and mining group Evraz.

Danni Hewson AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “It’s been up up and away for UK airline stocks following a double dose of good news.  First the need for hugely expensive PCR tests on return from holidays has been scrapped in time for half term which might just make travel more affordable for more families and give bookings a boost. 

“Second, and more importantly for FTSE 100 leader IAG, the US has finally lifted its travel ban for UK passengers [from 8 November]. 

“The nice bounce from the British Airways owner helped keep the blue-chip index on a high, though it couldn’t quite hang onto its brief jump up to a new pandemic high.”

10am: FTSE 100 at 20-month high

The FTSE 100 index rose to a near 20-month high this morning, recovering all losses since the pandemic began, helped by gains in heavyweight oil and banking shares as investors were optimistic about a steady economic recovery.

The list of blue chip shares was 0.3% higher at the open and was trading 0.24% mid-morning at 7,224.68.

The commodity-heavy index was up 1.8% for the week and set to record its best week since May this year, with miners being the biggest gainers.

It has risen nearly 12% this year to its highest since February 2020, supported by upbeat earnings, accommodative central bank policies and gains in oil and metal prices, which boosted commodity-related stocks.

7am: Hargreaves Lansdown

Wealth management platform Hargreaves Lansdown said it had seen net new business of £1.3 billion in the three months to 30 September and attracted 23,000 new clients.

Assets under administration are 2% up since 30 June at £138 billion, while revenue for the period came in at £142.2 million (2020: £143.7m)

Chris Hill, chief executive, said: “Today we report a good start to our financial year, with continued growth in clients and assets in what is typically our quietest quarter.

“The client retention rate remains solid at 92.6% and we continue to see new clients build wealth, diversify holdings and engage with the proposition. 

Pure gym IPO doubts

Pure Gym

Pure Gym, Britain’s biggest health and fitness club chain, is close to shelving its proposed £1.5bn stock market listing in a sign of growing unease among investors, according to Sky News.

If confirmed, it would be the second IPO to be abandoned in a week following the decision by roof tiles manufacturer Marley to postponed its £500m listing.

Pure Gym is yet to officially confirm its planned route to market but indicated in August that it was considering an IPO to raise new capital to pay off debt and expand its portfolio. It has hired City big hitters to advise on such a move.

The company, which has bounced back from the lockdown, is majority-owned by the private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners and trades from more than 500 sites across Europe, including 285 in the UK.

Global markets

The Dow Jones shot up yesterday while the S&P 500 posted its best one-day gain since March after data showed a fall in new claims for unemployment benefits, lower-than-expected factory gate price inflation and forecast-beating results for the four largest U.S. consumer banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.57%, the S&P 500 climbed 1.46%, and the Nasdaq Composite leapt 1.68%.

Asian markets have followed the bullish sentiment. China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.46% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 1.07%

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.56% and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.84%.

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