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London close: Stocks manage a positive finish

(Sharecast News) - London stocks closed on a high note on Tuesday, buoyed by strong performances from key sectors and a notable rise in Whitbread shares following positive first-quarter results.

The FTSE 100 climbed 0.6%, ending the day at 8,191.29 points, while the FTSE 250 also saw significant gains, advancing 1.24% to settle at 20,409.93 points.

In currency markets, sterling was last down 0.06% on the dollar to trade at $1.2697, while it slipped 0.09% against the euro, changing hands at €1.1823.

"European stock indices are on track for a second day of gains as more bargain hunters enter the fray, even though trading volumes are light ahead of the US Juneteenth holiday on Wednesday," said IG senior market analyst Axel Rudolph.

"This might explain why US indices are mixed and why there was little reaction to Citigroup hiking its S&P 500 year-end target to 5,600 points, US retail sales rising less than expected and US industrial output rising more than forecast.

"In Germany, investor morale improved less than expected, while in the UK Hargreaves Lansdown agreed to a CVC consortium takeover."

Rudolph said oil prices were in the process of breaking through significant technical resistance while gasoline and natural gas prices also surged, the latter by 2.5%.

"Gold and silver prices are mixed as cotton prices fall to an over three-and-a-half-year low amid prospects of increased supply as favourable weather conditions persist throughout the entire US cotton belt."

UK grocery sales growth slows, eurozone consumer inflation rises

In economic news, fresh data from Kantar showed a marked slowdown in UK take-home grocery sales, which grew by just 1.0% in the four weeks ended 9 June - the slowest growth rate since June 2022.

That slowdown was attributed to unseasonably wet weather and declining inflation.

The average shopper visited supermarkets 16.3 times this month, slightly less than the 16.4 visits recorded in June last year.

Kantar said the damp conditions, marking the sixth wettest spring on record, led to a 25% decrease in suncare product sales, while fresh soup sales surged nearly 24% year-on-year.

Despite those trends, financial confidence among households improved, with 36% describing their financial situation as comfortable, the highest level since 2021.

Grocery price inflation decreased to 2.1%, marking the 16th consecutive monthly decline.

"The cost-of-living crisis isn't over - far from it," said Kantar head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt.

"22% of households say they're struggling, meaning that they aren't able to cover their expenses or are just making ends meet.

"However, there are positive signs that many of us no longer feel the need to restrict our spending quite so much, with lower inflation helping to ease the pressure on people's pockets."

On the continent, Eurostat reported that the eurozone's harmonised consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.2% month-on-month in May, pushing the annual inflation rate from 2.4% in April to 2.6% in May, aligning with preliminary estimates.

Service prices increased 0.7% from April, while prices for non-energy industrial goods remained stable.

Energy prices dropped by 1.2%, whereas prices for food, alcohol, and tobacco edged up by 0.2%.

The core CPI, which excludes volatile items like energy and food, increased by 0.4% month-on-month and 2.9% annually.

That was a significant decrease from the 6.1% year-on-year increase recorded a year earlier.

Across the Atlantic, the US Department of Commerce reported a significant rise in industrial production in May, driven by increased output in manufacturing and utilities.

Industrial production increased 0.9% month-on-month, surpassing economists' expectations of a 0.3% rise.

Manufacturing output also climbed by 0.9%, while utility output surged by 1.6%.

Among major market groups, consumer goods production saw the highest growth, up 1.3%. Materials output increased by 0.8%.

US retail sales meanwhile edged up 0.1% month-on-month in May to $703.9bn, slightly below the consensus forecast of 0.2%, according to the Commerce Department.

The modest growth followed a downward revision of April's sales to -0.2%.

Earlier in the global day, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep its cash rate unchanged at 4.35%, amidst ongoing concerns over persistent inflation and slowing economic growth.

The RBA cautioned that future adjustments to interest rates could not be ruled out, as inflation is expected to remain above the 2 to 3% target range for some time.

Ocado and Whitbread in the green, Ashtead slumps

On London's equity markets, Ocado Group jumped 1.76% after Kantar data revealed it as the fastest-growing grocer for the fourth consecutive month.

Ocado's sales increased by 10.7% over the 12 weeks ended 9 June , outperforming the total online market, which saw a 4% rise in sales.

Whitbread shares meanwhile climbed 1.79% following the company's announcement of confidence in its full-year outlook, despite flat first-quarter sales.

The company's Premier Inn brand saw a robust performance in Germany, with hotel sales up 15%, which offset stagnant growth in the UK.

InterContinental Hotels Group also experienced a rise, gaining 1.57%.

Hargreaves Lansdown jumped 4.91% after the company indicated it would consider a takeover approach from a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners at 1,140p per share.

The firm requested an extension to the 'put up or shut up' deadline, having previously rejected a 985p per share offer from the consortium, which also includes Nordic Capital and Platinum Ivy.

On the downside, Ashtead fell 2% after its fourth-quarter profits missed expectations and the company predicted a further moderation of growth in the coming year.

XTB's research director Kathleen Brooks noted the weak revenue and disappointing forward guidance contributed to its status as among the worst performers on the FTSE 100 today.

The absence of any announcement about moving its listing to the US, where it conducts most of its business, also impacted investor sentiment.

Elsewhere, Telecom Plus declined 0.75%, reversing earlier gains despite reporting better-than-expected full-year pre-tax profit, with growth in customer and service numbers.

Outside the FTSE 350, XP Power plummeted 14.03% after Advanced Energy Industries, based in Denver, announced it would not pursue a takeover offer.

Reporting by Josh White for

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 8,191.29 0.60% FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,409.93 1.24% techMARK (TASX) 4,804.84 0.50%

FTSE 100 - Risers

RS Group (RS1) 723.00p 3.69% SSE (SSE) 1,800.00p 3.51% Bunzl (BNZL) 2,998.00p 3.45% St James's Place (STJ) 545.50p 2.92% DCC (CDI) (DCC) 5,650.00p 2.36% Informa (INF) 860.80p 2.11% National Grid (NG.) 894.20p 2.10% Schroders (SDR) 377.60p 2.05% Croda International (CRDA) 4,141.00p 2.02% Spirax Group (SPX) 8,655.00p 1.88%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 118.05p -2.20% Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,390.00p -2.00% Persimmon (PSN) 1,404.50p -1.23% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 481.90p -1.19% Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 147.75p -0.84% Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 4,377.00p -0.68% Diageo (DGE) 2,558.00p -0.68% Flutter Entertainment (DI) (FLTR) 14,395.00p -0.62% Burberry Group (BRBY) 979.80p -0.61% Airtel Africa (AAF) 119.70p -0.58%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Energean (ENOG) 1,054.00p 6.84% Investec (INVP) 581.00p 6.41% Ninety One (N91) 170.10p 5.98% CMC Markets (CMCX) 269.00p 5.91% Foresight Group Holdings Limited NPV (FSG) 455.00p 5.81% Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,130.00p 5.26% Trustpilot Group (TRST) 219.50p 5.02% Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 154.60p 4.88% Patria Private Equity Trust (PPET) 568.00p 4.42% IntegraFin Holding (IHP) 344.00p 4.24%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 572.00p -3.13% PureTech Health (PRTC) 214.50p -2.05% Redrow (RDW) 673.00p -1.97% Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,316.00p -1.79% Genus (GNS) 1,674.00p -1.53% Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 244.60p -1.45% Games Workshop Group (GAW) 9,435.00p -1.15% Indivior (INDV) 1,265.00p -1.01% Vistry Group (VTY) 1,204.00p -0.99% Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,860.00p -0.75%

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