FTSE 100 cements early gains at new high for the month

FTSE 100 cements early gains at new high for the month

  • FTSE 100 rises 21 points
  • FTSE 250 rises 62 points
  • Capita higher after disposal

With just over an hour of trading left to go, the FTSE 100 appears to have decided its day’s work is done.

The index is up 21 points (0.3%) at 7,395, where it was in mid-morning. On the other hand, it is at its highest point this month, having started December at around 7,150.

The FTSE 250 is for once moving in lock-step with its bigger brother, up 62 points (0.3%) at 23,329.

Mid-cap and FTSE 250 constituent Capita PLC (LSE:CPI) is doing its bit to boost the index, up 2.2% at 37.89p after it agreed to sell its AMT Sybex software business to Jonas Computing in a deal that values AMT Sybex at up to £40mln.


9.50am: Omicron fears recede

The FTSE 100 has added to earlier gains although trading volumes remain predictably thin.

London’s index of blue-chip stocks is 20 points (0.3%) to the good at 7,393.

“Judging by the stock market rally this week, it appears as though investors are still confident that the ongoing recovery from the pandemic recession can survive the omicron wave. Sentiment has been lifted by several scientific studies showing that omicron is less severe than previous mutations. The new variant has also introduced a new element of uncertainty as to whether central banks will be able to follow up with more rate rises if the economic recovery falters,” said Fawad Razaqzada at Thinkmarkets.

Any further good news regarding omicron is therefore likely to have progressively less impact on the markets,” he suggested.

Nevertheless, fading worries about omicron seem to be luring buyers back into the market for British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE:IAG) SA, which is up 2.0% at 146.8p, and hotelier Whitbread PLC (LSE:WTB), which is 1.5% firmer.

Another stock that would not welcome further lockdown and travel restrictions, Rolls-Royce Group Holdings PLC is up 1.3%.

8.30am: Reckitt Benckiser sells skincare business

The FTSE 100 has defied expectations and opened in positive territory, albeit only just.

London’s index of heavyweight shares is up 7 points (0.1%) at 7,380.

As might be expected on Christmas Eve there is not a lot happening but Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC (LSE:RKT, ETR:3RB) has given traders something to think about with its proposed sale of its E45 skincare brand and related sub-brands to Karo Pharm for an implied enterprise value (market capitalisation adjusted for cash or debt) of £200mln.

Shares in Reckitt were down 0.2% at 6,257p.

6.35am: Snoozing through Whamageddon

Never mind the Santa rally, we’re getting the Father Christmas fade today despite a strong showing yesterday by US markets.

Spread betting quotes indicate that the FTSE 100 will open around 10 points lower at 7,363.

“Markets continue to dismiss omicron because that’s what they want to believe, and the US data dump overnight had strong showings from the PCE Index, Durable Goods and Michigan Consumer Sentiment. Assuming omicron is a storm in a test tube, and I certainly hope it is, there was nothing to deter the Fed overnight. The omicron-…mild rally could well continue into January now, but reality will bite in February I believe, as the end of the Fed taper moves into sight,” said The Grinch (aka Jeffrey Halley) at OANDA.

“Wall Street rose again overnight after a strong procession on US data and markets convincing themselves even more, that omicron is a mildly symptomatic storm in a teacup. The S&P 500 rose by 0.62%, while the Nasdaq jumped by 0.82%, with the Dow Jones moving 0.52% higher. Santa and his reindeer may be serving a compulsory quarantine on arrival, but he has still managed to drop off some record highs for the holiday season,” Halley noted.

In Asia, markets are doing what they should do on Christmas Eve, i.e. not very much.


Whamageddon officially ends today and if you are still in the game then I am not sure whether to congratulate you or not because it probably means you are in isolation somewhere and will be (to quote another Christmas song) lonely this Christmas.

Be that as it may, have an enjoyable festive break.

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