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Important information: The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This is a third-party news feed and may not reflect Fidelity’s views.

London close: Stocks manage gains on globally quiet day

(Sharecast News) - London's financial markets finished in positive territory on Monday, with stocks closing in the green after overcoming minor losses earlier in the session. The FTSE 100 index rose by 0.22%, reaching a value of 7,728.50 points, while the FTSE 250 index saw gains of 0.13%, closing at 19,216.90 points.

On a relatively quiet global day with Wall Street closed for the Presidents' Day holiday, Currys surged amid reported takeover interest.

In currency markets, sterling was last down 0.13% on the dollar, trading at $1.2586, while it saw a drop of 0.05% against the euro to change hands at €1.1686.

"Chinese markets ended the day in positive territory with the Shanghai Composite closing at six-week highs on the first trading day after the Lunar New Year break," said IG senior market analyst Axel Rudolph.

"Positive tourism revenues data during the holidays and an unchanged one-year medium-term lending facility rate propped up Chinese equities and led to gains in the region at large.

"The FTSE 100 has begun this week where it left off last week by outperforming its European peers during an extremely quiet session as US stock markets were closed for Presidents' Day."

Rudolph added that oil prices had risen amid the quiet trading, as European natural gas futures fell to an eight-month low.

"The gold price appreciated slightly despite the dollar regaining some of its recently lost ground in low volume and low volatility trading ahead of Wednesday's FOMC minutes."

Housing market shows resilience in February

In economic news, the housing market showed resilience in February, bolstered by a continuation of declining mortgage rates, according to fresh industry data.

Rightmove's latest house price index showed a notable uptick, with average new seller prices increasing 0.9% compared to the prior month, and by 0.1% year-on-year.

That marks the first time in six months that the annual price change had entered positive territory.

In January, house prices experienced a month-on-month increase of 1.3%, although they recorded a year-on-year decline of 0.7%.

The average asking price for homes now stood at £362,839.

Additionally, agreed sales during the initial six weeks of 2024 surged 16% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Furthermore, there were notable increases in both new listings and buyer enquiries, which rose by 7% each year-on-year.

"Early-bird Boxing Day buyers got a head start in cherry-picking from a record level of new property choice and have now been joined by many other buyers also believing that 2024 offers the right market conditions to move," said Tim Bannister, director of property science at Rightmove.

"Mortgage rates have fallen considerably from their peak and are now remaining broadly stable after the uncertainty of late 2022 and 2023.

"Momentum to move in 2024 is continuing to build."

Currys surges on takeover talk, Moneysupermarket in the red

On London's equity markets, Currys rocketed 36.36% after confirmations from US private equity firm Elliott Advisors and Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, both considering separate bids for the struggling British electrical retailer.

Currys said it had rejected a £700m proposal from Elliott, citing undervaluation of the chain and its future prospects.

Elsewhere, Rolls-Royce Holdings gained 2.68% ahead of its full-year results scheduled for Thursday.

AstraZeneca rallied 2.62% following approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a combination of its cancer drug Tagrisso with chemotherapy to treat a type of lung cancer.

SSE and Bank of Georgia Group recorded more modest gains, with SSE benefiting from an upgrade to 'buy' at Jefferies, and Bank of Georgia rising after agreeing to acquire Armenian bank Ameriabank for $303.6m.

On the downside, Moneysupermarket Group declined 1.7%, despite reporting record full-year revenues driven by its insurance business's strong performance.

Anglo American also faced a downturn, dropping 1.37%, after it announced a restructuring in its platinum arm, potentially affecting over 4,300 jobs due to lower prices and higher costs amid a global economic slowdown.

Flutter Entertainment closed in the red, losing 1.29%, despite Berenberg raising its price target on the shares and reiterating its 'buy' recommendation.

Berenberg emphasised Flutter's strong growth and balance sheet flexibility, highlighting it as their "top pick" in the leisure space for the 2024 financial year, particularly noting its promising performance in the lucrative US market.

Reporting by Josh White for Sharecast.com.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,728.50 0.22% FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,216.90 0.13% techMARK (TASX) 4,399.69 0.39%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 334.20p 3.37% AstraZeneca (AZN) 10,418.00p 3.21% Vodafone Group (VOD) 67.10p 2.24% SEGRO (SGRO) 866.20p 1.98% InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 7,902.00p 1.83% Barclays (BARC) 149.00p 1.55% Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,132.50p 1.39% Melrose Industries (MRO) 618.60p 1.28% Frasers Group (FRAS) 839.50p 1.21% Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,479.00p 1.11%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Centrica (CNA) 130.80p -5.97% Beazley (BEZ) 570.00p -2.56% Kingfisher (KGF) 222.60p -2.20% NATWEST GROUP (NWG) 224.60p -2.14% Fresnillo (FRES) 477.50p -2.05% British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,369.50p -1.82% Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 795.20p -1.61% Prudential (PRU) 821.20p -1.58% Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,428.00p -1.58% Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,319.50p -1.42%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Currys (CURY) 64.20p 36.36% Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 4,225.00p 6.56% W.A.G Payment Solutions (WPS) 88.00p 5.77% Renishaw (RSW) 4,240.00p 2.91% Capital Gearing Trust (CGT) 4,655.00p 2.65% Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 434.60p 2.60% Me Group International (MEGP) 135.20p 2.58% Mobico Group (MCG) 84.80p 2.29% Senior (SNR) 161.40p 2.28% Auction Technology Group (ATG) 610.00p 2.18%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Indivior (INDV) 1,347.00p -4.06% Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 166.10p -2.87% Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 231.00p -2.74% FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 415.50p -2.35% Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 165.70p -2.30% Abrdn (ABDN) 160.65p -2.22% Elementis (ELM) 137.00p -2.14% Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 246.60p -1.83% Hochschild Mining (HOC) 89.35p -1.71% Monks Inv Trust (MNKS) 1,084.00p -1.63%

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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