FTSE 100 makes further gains but retreats from intraday high

15 May 2024, 17:24

London weather
London weather. Picture: PA

The FTSE 100 finished 17.67 points, or 0.21%, higher to end the day at 8,445.80.

London’s top financial index has seen its recent rally slow but still finished higher on Wednesday.

The FTSE 100 shot higher early in the session to strike another intraday record, boosted by a number of strong earnings updates including Imperial Brands and Experian.

However, it pulled back slightly as weaker oil prices weighed on Shell and BP share values.

The FTSE 100 finished 17.67 points, or 0.21%, higher to end the day at 8,445.80.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: “The gains in the FTSE 100 have slowed to a crawl, and tough news from a number of names today has not helped matters.

“In the short term a lot of the good news for the index is now priced in, and a lot of the much-vaunted valuation discount has been cleared through the huge gains of recent week.

“In the short term, the catalyst to further gains seems tough to discern.”

Royal Mail reforms
Royal Mail owner IDS saw shares spike on Wednesday after a fresh takeover move (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 was also firmly higher as it received a boost from a takeover tilt for Royal Mail’s parent firm International Distribution Services (IDS).

IDS shares surged after Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky’s investment vehicle put forward a higher proposed bid worth around £3.5 billion.

The UK delivery firm said it would be “minded” to agree to the deal if the proposal is firmed up. Shares in the company finished up 43.4p, or 16%, at 314.8p.

Elsewhere in Europe, the German Dax index was up 0.85% at the close and the Cac 40 in France ended up 0.17%.

Across the Atlantic, US stocks opened higher after US inflation cooled to 3.4% last month, matching the expectations of economists.

Meanwhile, the pound bounced to its strongest rate against the dollar for a month, with the inflation reading dragging on the US currency.

The pound was up 0.5% at 1.265 US dollars and was up 0.14% at 1.165 euros at market close in London.

In company news, Golden Virginia maker Imperial Brands was firmly higher after it was buoyed by higher prices for traditional tobacco.

Shares in the company moved 108p, or 5.75%, higher to 1,986.5p despite overall revenues falling thanks to shrinking volume sales.

Fashion house Burberry slid by 86.5p, or 7.3%, to 1,102p, after it told investors that profits plunged by around 40% for the past year as it became the latest luxury firm hit by a spending squeeze from wealthy shoppers.

Wood Group closed 15p, or 7.5%, lower at 185.6p after the engineering company rejected another takeover move from rival Sidara.

The price of oil retreated to its lowest level for around two months during the session as International Energy Agency (IEA) data showed lower demand.

A barrel of Brent crude oil was down by 0.45% to 82.11 US dollars as markets were closing in London.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Experian, up 282p to 3,752p, Imperial Brands, up 108p to 1,986.5p, Segro, up 49p to 936.8p, Persimmon, up 63p to 1,471.5p, and Flutter Entertainment, up 700p to 16,575p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Burberry, down 86.5p to 1,102p, Compass Group, down 69p to 2252p, B&M European, down 13.4p to 535.2p, St James’s Place, down 11.4p to 485.4p, and Barclays, down 4.1p to 213.1p.

By Press Association