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ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Friday 25 February 2022

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London open: Stocks rise after Thursday’s selloff


London stocks rose in early trade on Friday following heavy losses in the previous session on the back of worries about the Ukraine crisis, and taking their cue from an upbeat close on Wall Street.

At 0850 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 1.2% at 7,295.13, having tumbled 3.9% on Thursday.

Danske Bank said: “Price action has been volatile and choppy since the launch of the Russian attack. While the first reaction delivered a heavy blow to risky assets excluding commodity prices a relief rally followed late in the US session possibly as Western sanctions proved less harsh than feared. Volatility is set to remain very high in today’s session.”

In equity markets, Russian steelmaker Evraz jumped to the top of the FTSE 100, having tumbled a day earlier amid worries about the impact of the Ukraine crisis. The company’s full-year results, released earlier, showed that net profit rose to $3.1bn from $858m. Evraz also warned in the results that the “worsening situation related to Ukraine has further increased the economic uncertainty and the risk of the imposition of sanctions”.

Anglo-Russian precious metals miner Polymetal was also up after heavy losses on Thursday.

Educational publisher Pearson gained after saying it will launch a £350m share buyback and that demand for assessment and qualification services allowed it to hit its 2021 targets.

IAG flew higher after the British Airways and Iberia owner said it expects to return to profit in the second quarter despite a “significant” operating loss in the first quarter due to the Omicron Covid variant, seasonal slowdown and capacity rebuilding costs. The company, which also owns Aer Lingus and Iberia, narrowed 2021 losses to €2.7bn from €7.4bn and said it expected it would hit 85% of pre-pandemic 2019 capacity during the current year.

Rightmove was higher after the online property portal posted a jump in full-year profit and sounded an upbeat note on the outlook.

Budget airlines Wizz and easyJet were trading higher following heavy losses in the previous session.

On the downside, Jupiter Fund Management fell after it reported a rise in full-year profits as assets under management ticked higher, but said net outflows continued.


Top 10 FTSE 100 Risers

# Name Change Pct Change Cur Price
1 Evraz Plc +16.06% +27.50 198.75
2 Pearson Plc +10.30% +61.80 661.80
3 Bae Systems Plc +3.89% +24.60 656.40
4 Rightmove Plc +3.70% +22.80 638.40
5 Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc +3.68% +67.50 1,901.00
6 Centrica Plc +3.41% +2.46 74.62
7 Johnson Matthey Plc +3.17% +54.50 1,775.50
8 Wpp Plc +2.80% +29.00 1,063.00
9 Lloyds Banking Group Plc +2.74% +1.28 47.82
10 Prudential Plc +2.69% +30.00 1,145.50


Top 10 FTSE 100 Fallers

# Name Change Pct Change Cur Price
1 Berkeley Group Holdings (the) Plc -0.43% -16.00 3,741.00
2 Croda International Plc -0.42% -30.00 7,064.00
3 Unilever Plc -0.23% -8.50 3,625.50
4 Vodafone Group Plc -0.15% -0.20 129.90
5 Bt Group Plc -0.13% -0.25 187.55
6 International Consolidated Airlines Group S.a. -0.11% -0.16 147.24
7 Nmc Health Plc -0.00% -0.00 938.40
8 Shell Plc -0.00% -0.00 1,894.60
9 Just Eat Plc -0.00% -0.00 861.00
10 Rsa Insurance Group Ld +0.00% +0.00 684.20


Europe open: Shares rebound from sell-off as Russians approach Kyiv

European shares rebounded strongly on Friday after a late Wall Street rally overnight and despite the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The pan-regional Stoxx was up more than 1% in early deals. US stocks swung sharply to a strong finish on Thursday as President Joe Biden unveiled new sanctions against Russia.

However, US stocks futures were down 1% as Russian forces started to approach the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Russia on Thursday launched an attack on Ukraine via land, air and sea, hitting financial markets. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the capital of Kyiv was hit with “horrific” Russian rocket strikes early Friday morning, with several reports of explosions being heard around the city.

In equity news, shares in UK educational publisher Pearson gained as the company reported higher profits and issued a strong outlook.

Anglo-Russian precious metals miner Polymetal surged more than 10% after heavy losses on Thursday.

Automakers were also in favour, with Porsche and Volkswagen ahead as they issued details of a possible Porsche listing.

Swiss Re fell as the reinsurance company swung to a smaller-than-expected full-year profit in 2021.


US close: Stocks stage turnaround after Biden’s fresh sanctions

Wall Street stocks staged a late turnaround to close in the green on Thursday, after US president Joe Biden announced sweeping new sanctions on Russia after the latter staged a bloody invasion of Ukraine overnight.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.28% at 33,223,83, as the S&P 500 added 1.5% to 4,288.70 and the Nasdaq Composite was ahead 3.34% at 13,473.58.

The Dow closed 92.07 points higher on Thursday, reversing earlier losses which came after Russia staged a shocking attack on Ukraine from the east, north and south of the country.

Russia’s assault began in the early hours of Thursday, when explosions were heard in several cities and images of tanks, troops and missile attacks began to emerge.

By the end of the day, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 137 of his citizens, both soldiers and civilians, had lost their lives since the invasion began at daybreak.

The United Nations reported that around 100,000 people had fled the capital Kyiv and elsewhere, while reports also emerged that Russia had seized control of the Chernobyl nuclear power complex – the still-highly radioactive site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

NATO vowed to reinforce its presence on Ukraine’s eastern front following the invasion, and Biden condemned the attack, stating the world would “hold Russia accountable” for its actions.

“Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way,” the US president said.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson said it was “highly unlikely” Russian forces would stop until the whole of Ukraine was annexed, adding that Europe was looking at its worst security and humanitarian crisis since the second World War.

“While the EU and the US have said they will hit back with further sanctions, it is highly unlikely that this will change Putin’s calculus, given that the nuclear option of shutting Russia out of energy markets and SWIFT isn’t yet on the table, due to concerns over the collateral damage it might do to Western economies, with the EU seemingly opposed to such a move.

“While this might be a justifiable concern it doesn’t really compare to what might happen if Russia carries on and threatens the borders of the Baltic States, or Poland, who are NATO allies, who will no doubt require aid to deal with an unfolding humanitarian crisis, as Ukrainian civilians flee westwards.”

On the economic front, first-time jobless claims fell at a faster than expected clip in the week ended 19 February following three consecutive weeks of increases.

According to the Labor Department, 232,000 Americans filed initial jobless claims last week, down from the 248,000 reported a week earlier and slightly better than the expected print of 235,000.

Continuing claims came in at 1.47m, down from 1.59m in the prior week to a new pandemic-era low, while the four-week moving average decreased by 7,250 to 236,250.

Elsewhere, the US economy expanded at a 7% annual pace between October and December, as a second reading of the nation’s gross domestic product put GDP on track to rise 5.7% over the full-year – the fastest calendar-year growth seen since a brutal recession hit the nation almost 40 years ago.

Still on data, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index increased to 0.69 in January following a revised 0.07 print a month earlier as all four broad categories of indicators used to construct the index made positive contributions.

Finally, new home sales fell 4.5% to 801,000 in January, according to the Census Bureau, as high home prices, rising mortgage rates, cold weather and a surge in Omicron infections weighed on sentiment amongst buyers.

In equities, bank stocks were under pressure, with Bank of America shares down 2.64% and Bank of New York Mellon 1.59% lower by the closing bell.

CBRE Group was off 2.3% after the commercial property firm beat estimates on fourth quarter profit.

On the upside, theme park operator SeaWorld Entertainment was ahead 4.31% after it swung to a big profit beat, as revenues more than doubled.


Friday newspaper round-up: Elon Musk, Co-op Bank, BP

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly opened an investigation into whether recent stock sales by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal Musk violated insider trading rules. The SEC inquiry – first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday – was sparked in part by the Tesla CEO’s own tweets. – Guardian

The Co-operative Bank has more than tripled its bonus pot for bankers after a “milestone year” that resulted in its first profit in a decade. The ethical lender, which has struggled to turn a profit since 2011, announced it was paying bankers a total of £13.3m in bonuses for 2021, compared with a £4.2m bonus pot shared among its more than 3,200 staff in 2020. – Guardian

BP is under renewed pressure to abandon its stake in the oil giant Rosneft after Boris Johnson said Britain must reduce its reliance on Russian hydrocarbons. The FTSE 100 oil firm has held a 20pc stake in Russia’s state-owned gas company Rosneft for 10 years.- Telegraph

Alibaba has recorded its slowest quarterly growth since its listing in New York in 2014 after being hit by rising competition and a slowing Chinese economy. The world’s second largest ecommerce business behind Amazon said that its group sales had risen by 10 per cent in the final three months of last year to 242.6 billion yuan (£28.6 billion). – The Times

Leading chip manufacturers have said that they are prepared for any immediate disruption caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the supply of materials used to make the microprocessors that power cars, smartphones and computers. The United States remains highly dependent on the two countries for materials such as palladium and neon. Techcet, a supply chain research company that advises the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers and suppliers, said that Russia accounted for 35 per cent of the palladium imported to America, while Ukraine supplied the majority of neon consumed in the US chip manufacturing sector. – The Times


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