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ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Wednesday 23 February 2022

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London open: Stocks rise as Barclays results impress; Ukraine crisis in focus


London stocks rose in early trade on Wednesday, helped along by well-received results from Barclays, as investors kept an eye on developments in the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

At 0840 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 7,531.01.

Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group, said: “Markets are peeking out from behind the risk-off curtain, as sanctions announced by the US, UK, and Europe against Russia didn’t live up to the market’s worst fears.

“Instead of sending the strongest message possible, the first tranche of sanctions by Western allies are seen as mere thumbtacks that only induce limited discomfort on Russia, at least for now. Some of the sanctions on Russian banks are largely symbolic and have limited impact on its financial dealings with the rest of the world. Although the Western allies have highlighted further scope for economic retaliation, Tuesday’s announcements suggest more leeway for Russia in the interim, noting that the EU’s measures still require confirmation from member states, while US lawmakers continue wrangling over a bipartisan package of Russian sanctions.

“The Ukraine crisis has added to the wall of worries that market participants are contending with, including signs of persistently elevated inflation and the risk of a Fed policy error. Global financial markets are expected to remain sensitive to every development and nuance in this standoff between Russia and the West, with investors and traders bracing for the unending barrage of headlines headed their way.”

In equity markets, Barclays was among the top performers on the FTSE 100 after the bank said annual profits more than doubled, boosted by economic recovery and the release of provisions for bad loans during the Covid pandemic. Barclays reported a record annual pre-tax profit of £8.4bn, up from £3.1bn in 2020.

Student accommodation company Unite was also a high riser after it said it swung to a full-year profit and struck an upbeat note on the outlook.

Luxury car maker Aston Martin rallied after it posted a narrowing of its full-year losses as sales surged.

Cybersecurity firm Darktrace gained after it agreed to buy attack surface management company Cybersprint for €47.5m.

On the downside, Rio Tinto edged lower even as the Anglo-Australian miner declared a massive final dividend as profits surged on the back of rising commodity prices.

Precious metals miner Hochschild Mining was also in the red despite reporting a rise in full-year core earnings as production bounced back and silver prices increased.


Top 10 FTSE 100 Risers

# Name Change Pct Change Cur Price
1 Antofagasta Plc +4.09% +57.50 1,463.00
2 Tui Ag +3.61% +9.20 263.70
3 Barclays Plc +3.32% +6.32 196.48
4 Rolls-royce Holdings Plc +2.42% +2.86 120.88
5 International Consolidated Airlines Group S.a. +2.33% +3.76 165.44
6 Glencore Plc +2.10% +8.85 431.05
7 St. James’s Place Plc +2.00% +29.50 1,502.50
8 Itv Plc +1.96% +2.25 116.90
9 Lloyds Banking Group Plc +1.95% +1.00 52.31
10 Hargreaves Lansdown Plc +1.78% +19.50 1,114.50


Top 10 FTSE 100 Fallers

# Name Change Pct Change Cur Price
1 Kingfisher Plc -2.84% -8.90 304.30
2 Evraz Plc -1.28% -3.60 277.70
3 Coca-cola Hbc Ag -1.10% -24.00 2,163.00
4 Halma Plc -0.75% -17.00 2,260.00
5 Segro Plc -0.57% -7.00 1,228.00
6 Sage Group Plc -0.50% -3.40 680.60
7 Crh Plc -0.34% -12.00 3,556.00
8 Imperial Brands Plc -0.26% -4.50 1,751.50
9 Spirax-sarco Engineering Plc -0.22% -25.00 11,530.00
10 Ocado Group Plc -0.19% -2.50 1,298.00


Europe open: Shares up on corporate results as investors eye Russia sanctions

European shares rebounded at the open on Wednesday as bumper earnings and dividend payouts boosted sentiment despite Western sanctions against Moscow over its threats to Ukraine.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.8% in early deals after several straight days of losses.

Russia was hit with sanctions overnight after it ordered troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.

In equity news, shares in UK student accommodation provider Unite Group soared as it swung to a profit and reported a positive outlook.

Automakers Stellantis rose after the company reported the annual margin on adjusted operating profit climbed above its target.

Shares in French yoghurt maker Danone were up as the company reported stronger-than-expected sales growth in the last quarter of 2021.

Barclays gained 2.5% after a record annual profit and return of £2.5bn to shareholders in 2021.


US close: Stocks record losses as Russia-Ukraine tensions heat up

Wall Street stocks recorded losses on Tuesday as investors returned from a break in observance of George Washington’s birthday to an escalation in tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

At the close the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.42% at 33,596.61, while the S&P 500 was 1.01% softer at 4,304.76 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 1.23% weaker at 13,381.52.

The Dow closed 482.57 points lower on Tuesday, reversing gains recorded in the previous session.

The mood turned sour after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would recognise the independence of two breakaway regions in Ukraine, potentially undercutting peace talks with US President Joe Biden. Putin later ordered forces into the two regions. The announcement was then followed by news that the White House will impose sanctions on separatist regions of Ukraine, with the European Union also vowing to take further measures.

Biden has accepted to meet with Putin “in principle” as part of his administration’s efforts to deescalate the Russia-Ukraine situation. The meeting will occur after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov speak.

On the macro front, the US housing index increased to 367.20 in December from 362.80 points in November and was up 17.5% year-on-year for the fourth quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Elsewhere, the IHS Markit US manufacturing PMI increased to 57.5 in February from 55.5 in January, beating forecasts of 56, according to preliminary estimates, as production rose at a quicker rate but was hampered by supply-chain disruptions and labour raw material shortage.

Finally, the Conference Board‘s consumer confidence index fell slightly in February, following a decrease in January, to now stand at 110.5, down from 111.1 in January.

In the corporate space, Home Depot beat sales estimates in its fiscal fourth-quarter and predicted that it will see further growth in 2022, while Macy’s fourth-quarter earnings topped estimates as the retailer said sales outpaced expectations and a strategic review of its operations led it to accelerate its turnaround plans.


Wednesday newspaper round-up: Petrol prices, Facebook, Jes Staley

UK petrol prices are poised to hit a record 150p a litre later this week after the worsening tension in Ukraine added fresh pressure to the cost of living crisis facing households. Crude oil prices reached more than $99 a barrel at one point on Tuesday in response to Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognise the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. Prices later slipped back after markets viewed the west’s initial sanctions response as weak. – Guardian

Facebook has launched its short video feature Reels globally, its owner Meta Platforms said on Tuesday, in a move to expand its fastest growing content format after reports that overall user numbers are down. The social media giant, which recently announced a massive pivot into virtual reality products, lost a third of its market value after a dismal earnings report in February. It has highlighted Reels as a key priority to court younger users. – Guardian

Britain’s new privacy tsar said he will end the era of “regulations for regulation’s sake” in a decisive break from EU data rules. John Edwards, the Information Commissioner, said Brussels’ GDPR regime had “imposed a drag” on growth and that he planned to only enforce regulations when it helped individuals. – Telegraph

Barclays is expected to announce today that it has frozen millions of pounds in share awards to its former chief executive as he contests the findings of a regulatory investigation into his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Directors have decided not to allow a chunk of shares granted to Jes Staley several years ago to vest as scheduled, despite a significant rebound in the bank’s performance. – The Times

The Venue Group (TVG) Hospitality has raised $50 million with the backing of tech billionaires, financial professionals and musicians, as it goes ahead with its plans to expand in the US (Shayma Bakht writes). The music venue company was set up by a founding member of the folk- rock band Mumford & Sons, Ben Lovett, and his brother Greg Lovett, the former finance director of Soho House North America, who closed the new funding for its initial financing round yesterday. TVG was founded in 2015 and operates three venues in London — Omeara and Flat Iron Square in London Bridge and Lafayette in King’s Cross — with several under development in America. – The Times


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