Market report

Santa rally drives stock market strongly higher

JD Sports in St James

The FTSE 100 broke out of its slumber and roared 126.7 points (1.72%) higher to close at 7,497.32 as the Santa rally finally arrived.

JD Sports Fashion jumped 6.09% on positive read-across from Nike’s second-quarter numbers.

Sports Direct owner Frasers Group fed on the positive sentiment to close 2.98% higher, with AJ Bell’s Russ Mould noting that investors were seemingly “hopeful that a good showing from Nike means athleisure spending is more resilient than the market previously thought”.

It was a better day for retailers all round amid a pick-up in demand this month. Next was another gainer, up 2.7%, or 150p, to 5658p. 

Pubs were also higher, with Wetherspoon up 4.1%, or 17.2p, to 441.6p, Mitchells & Butlers rising 3.4%, or 4.5p, to 138.5p and Marston’s climbing 1.7% or 0.64p, to 38.22p.

Shares in Capricorn Energy rose 1.2%, or 3p, to 249.4p amid growing unrest among shareholders who want to see changes on the board.

Ferrexpo gained 2.22% after saying it was now receiving sufficient levels of power to bring one iron ore pelletiser line in central Ukraine back into operation, allowing it to meet the requirements of existing customer contracts.

Going in the other direction, Bunzl was 0.96% weaker despite saying that full-year revenues were set to jump, bolstered by high inflation and acquisitions.

Fresh from announcing the sale of is healthcare division, packaging and materials specialist Bunzl said its operating margins in 2022 will be slightly ahead of previous guidance and in line with 2021 while revenues are expected to rise by 17% at actual exchange rates.

In a trading statement it forecast revenue in 2023 would be slightly higher than in 2022, driven by both organic growth and acquisitions.

Cineworld Group saw its shares slump 8% after US cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings said it was no longer in talks to acquire some cinemas owned by the group.

AMC said it had held initial talks with lenders which were focused on the acquisition of certain assets of Cineworld in the US and Europe.

“A definitive agreement with the lenders has not been reached regarding the terms of any proposal to be presented to the debtors in the Cineworld cases, and at this time negotiations are not continuing,” AMC added in a regulatory filing.

US stocks opened in the green as earnings from Nike and FedEx were well-received by investors.

Borrowing surges

Public sector borrowing rose sharply higher to £22 billion in November, up £13.9bn on the same month last year and marking the highest November figure since monthly records began in 1993. Full story here

Musk to step down

Elon Musk has confirmed he will step down as chief executive of Twitter, as soon as he finds someone “foolish enough to take the job”.

More than 57% of users who voted in a Twitter poll Mr Musk posted on Sunday night said he should step down and Mr Musk said he would abide by the result.

He went on to question the result, but confirmed in a tweet early on Wednesday morning that he would relinquish his role as head of the social media platform once he finds a successor.

He wrote: “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough!”

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