London stock rally continues as Middle East concerns cool

22 April 2024, 17:44

Winter weather Feb 11th 2021
Winter weather Feb 11th 2021. Picture: PA

London’s top index finished 128.02 points, or 1.62%, higher to end the day at 8,023.87.

The weaker pound and easing tensions in the Middle East helped drive the FTSE 100 towards record levels on Monday as it continued its recent purple patch.

The index fell just short of its highest intraday price on record – 8,047.06 – but reached a record closing level.

London’s top index finished 128.02 points, or 1.62%, higher to end the day at 8,023.87 after a fourth consecutive session of gains.

Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst at IG, said: “Following three straight weeks of falling prices, stock indices regained some lost ground at the start of the week as geopolitical tensions ease.

“A combination of a depreciating British pound – making UK stocks cheaper to buy for international investors – and de-escalation in the Middle East propelled the FTSE 100.”

Sterling was knocked by a slight improvement in interest rate cut expectations as easing oil prices gave some respite from concerns about another bout of energy price inflation.

Comments from deputy Bank of England governor Sir Dave Ramsden on Friday that UK inflation could be lower than expected over the next three years also impacted the currency.

The pound was down 0.2% at 1.234 US dollars and was 0.13% lower at 1.159 euros at market close in London.

Elsewhere in Europe, the other major markets had weaker sessions but made robust gains.

The German Dax index was up 0.7% at the close and the Cac 40 in France closed up 0.22%.

Marks and Spencer food delivery from Ocado
Ocado shares rose on Monday (Doug Peters/PA)

In company news, Ocado made gains amid reports that the retail technology company has reportedly come under pressure from investors to move its stock market listing from London to New York.

The business has held talks with shareholders in recent weeks and discussed the possibility of a move of across the Atlantic, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Investors welcomed this, helping shares to rise by 11.2p to 358.4p on Monday.

Shares in National Express owner Mobico stalled after it posted plunging profits and revealed its finance boss will stand down in the wake of accounting issues that twice delayed full-year results.

The transport firm reported a 36% fall in underlying group pre-tax profits to £92.9 million for 2023.

Shares in the company, which rebranded from National Express last year, finished down 5.9p at 54.15p.

FTSE 250 building supplier Tyman shot higher after it became the latest London-listed group to be snapped up by a US counterpart.

Shares in the company jumped by 100.5p to 396.5p after Texas-based Quanex Building Products agreed to buy the doors and windows specialist in a deal which values Tyman at about £788 million.

The price of oil dipped again as traders looked towards potential de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East.

A barrel of Brent crude oil was down by 0.3% to 87.09 US dollars as markets were closing in London.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Marks & Spencer, up 10.8p to 256.6p, Pershing Square, up 158p to 3,970p, Sainsbury’s, up 10.2p to 269p, Vodafone, up 2.62p to 69.62p, and Tesco, up 9.7p to 291.1p.

The biggest fallers were Fresnillo, down 15p to 587p, Antofagasta, down 49p to 2,201p, Intermediate Capital, down 40p to 1,960p, DS Smith, down 3.8p to 354.8p, and Anglo American, down 19p to 2,160p.

By Press Association