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Blue chip stocks surge | Greggs sees sales growth

London and financial services


5pm: Stock market surges

Blue chips enjoyed a strong rebound as traders regain an appetite for risk and suggestions the US Federal Reserve may ease off on hefty rate rises in the wake of the latest economic data.

The FTSE 100 closed 177.7 points (2.57%) higher at 7,086.46, even after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng dismissed earlier reports that he was bringing forward the publication of his debt-reduction proposals.

The pound was quoted at $1.1438 at the London equities close Tuesday, up sharply from $1.1309 at the close on Monday.

IG senior market analyst Joshua Mahony said: “The pound has continued its upward trajectory as concerns ease as gilt markets continue to cool.”

Insurer and pensions group Legal & General gained 6.08% after its said its investment arm had no exposure to recent turmoil in the liability-driven investment (LDI) market caused by Mr Kwarteng’s mini-budget.

“It’s not often that Legal & General has to calm investors’ nerves, given it is meant to be a steady as she goes type of business,” says Danni Hewson of AJ Bell. “Its shares enjoyed a relief rally after reassuring the market that it hasn’t been a forced seller of gilts or bonds, and that it continues to have a good solvency coverage ratio.

Phoenix Group was up 4.9%, Prudential rose 7.16% and Aviva was 3.07% firmer.

HSBC added 4.54% following a report it was exploring a multibillion pound sale of its operations in Canada, in what would mark a significant retreat from North America.

In the FTSE 250, Greggs soared 10% as the Newcastle-based fast food chain reported higher sales and more openings in the pipeline (see below). jumped 40%, on news the online furniture seller is in buyout talks, potentially drawing a torrid stint on the London Stock Exchange to a close.

Brent oil was quoted at $91.77 a barrel at the LSE close, from $88.30 late Monday.

8am: Royal Mail name change

Royal Mail has confirmed that it has changed its name to International Distributions Services.

The company announced the decision on 20 July together with its first quarter 2022 results. This change has now taken effect.

Shareholders should note that their shareholdings will be unaffected by the change of name. Existing share certificates should be retained as they will remain valid for all purposes and no new share certificates will be issued.

7am: Greggs

Fast food chain Greggs continued to trade well over the third quarter with total sales up 14.6% and like-for-like sales in company-managed shops rising by 9.7% when compared with the same period in 2021.

As expected, year-on-year growth moderated in August given the particularly strong ‘staycation’ effect seen in 2021, however, momentum returned in September. 

The company closed its shops on 19 September for the funeral of The Queen and this impacted reported LFL sales growth for the third quarter by around one percentage point.

In the year to date 106 shops have opened 16 have closed, giving a total of 2,271 shops trading at 1 October (1,860 company-managed shops and 411 franchised units).

For the year as a whole, the company continues to expect about 150 net openings, of which around 40% are planned to be with franchise partners.

7am: Legal & General

Insurer and pensions group Legal & General said its investment arm had no exposure to recent turmoil in the liability-driven investment (LDI) market caused by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s recent mini budget.

LDIs were at the centre of last week’s market freefall, sparking worries that some UK retirement funds could go under, forcing the Bank of England to intervene.

The company said it expected full-year operating profit growth to be up in line with the first half of 8% and annual capital generation of £1.8bn.

Global markets

Sterling continued its upward trajectory. The pound was quoted at $1.1330 early today.

Brent oil was trading at $89.25 a barrel, ticking up from $88.30.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 2.8%. In China, financial markets were closed for National Day Golden Week.

Wall Street stocks closed higher to bring some relief to traders after a dismal third quarter.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2.66%, while the S&P 500 was 2.59% firmer and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 2.27% stronger.

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