Airlines help lift FTSE 100 off the ground as global stocks rise

18 April 2024, 17:34

London Stock Exchange sign
London Stock Exchange trading. Picture: PA

The FTSE moved 29.06 points higher, or 0.37%, to close at 7,877.05.

A sea of green has washed over global stock markets in a calmer day of trading, while the FTSE 100 took off thanks to gains for top airlines.

The FTSE moved 29.06 points higher, or 0.37%, to close at 7,877.05.

It was given a lift by IAG Group, the owner of British Airways and airlines Iberia and Aer Lingus, which saw its share price soar by more than 5%.

EasyJet was following close behind with its share price moving higher after revealing it was on track to cut its losses by more than £50 million, helped by Easter being celebrated earlier in the year.

Mark Crouch, analyst at investment platform eToro, said: “The FTSE 100 traded close to 7,900 in early trading on Thursday, but had given up much of its earlier gains by the afternoon.

easyJet financials
EasyJet told investors it reduced its winter losses by more than £50 million (David Parry/PA)

“EasyJet’s gains came after it issued a half-year trading update, which revealed the company has reduced winter losses by more than £50 million.

“The update echoes a number of bullish reports from US air carriers. United, Delta and Alaska Airlines have all forecast in recent days that demand will be strong for air travel in 2024, despite inflation pinching at the pockets of consumers and ongoing safety worries concerning certain Boeing aircraft.”

Elsewhere for top European stock markets, Germany’s Dax moved 0.45% higher and France’s Cac 40 was up by 0.52%.

Over in the US, the S&P 500 was up about 0.4% and the Dow Jones was up 0.6% by the time European markets closed.

The pound was relatively flat against the US dollar at 1.246, and up about 0.15% against the euro at 1.169.

The price of Brent crude oil was down by 0.25% to 87 US dollars per barrel.

In other company news, shares in Hipgnosis Songs Fund soared by nearly a third after the music royalties giant said it had agreed to a takeover worth more than £1.1 billion by US rival Concord.

The embattled fund had launched a strategic review last year to assess a potential sale and other options.

It said the acquisition was a good opportunity for shareholders and that Concord was the right owner to take on the Hipgnosis catalogue. Its share price closed 30.5% higher.

On the other hand, shares in Rentokil dropped to the bottom of the FTSE 100 as questions remain over the pest control group’s performance against its main competitor in the US.

The company saw its group revenues edge up over the latest quarter, including in the US, where it makes a large proportion of its total sales. Its share price closed 7.6% lower.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG Group, up 9.1p to 7,903.19, Prudential, up 30.6p to 722.8p, Standard Chartered, up 18.4p to 661.6p, Beazley, up 18.5p to 670p, and easyJet, up 11.8p to 530p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Rentokil, down 34p to 412.9p, Spirax-Sarco, down 270p to 9,180p, BAE Systems, down 33p to 1,287p, Experian, down 75p to 3,206p, and Burberry, down 24p to 1,122p.

By Press Association