Friday 14 December 2018

Sterling retreat helps boost UK shares

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters


Britain's FTSE 100 advanced yesterday as sterling retreated from its highest level since the Brexit vote, while focus turned from geopolitical risks to corporate earnings that were largely supportive.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.4pc higher at 7,226.05 points, accelerating gains through the session as weaker-than-expected data weighed on sterling.

The pound's jump to its highest level since the June 2016 Brexit referendum has made some investors cautious around the FTSE's large, dollar-earning constituents. British American Tobacco, Reckitt Benckiser and Diageo all fell between 0.5pc and 3.2pc.

Associated British Foods shares rose more than 4pc despite profit falling slightly, as traders focused on a resilient performance from its fashion business Primark.

"As previously guided, margins in the second half are expected to improve, benefiting from better buying and a weaker US dollar," wrote analysts at Davy Research.

US stocks rose about 1pc on Tuesday, helped by gains in technology companies and as strong earnings from Netflix and UnitedHealth boosted optimism over what is expected to be the strongest earnings season in seven years.

Netflix shares rose 10pc to hit an all-time high after the video-streaming pioneer smashed analysts' quarterly subscriber estimates.

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet - collectively known as the FAANG group - rose between 1.4pc and 9.7pc.

Goldman Sachs reversed course to drop 1.7pc, mirroring other big US banks, shares of which declined despite beating Wall Street's profit expectations.

Irish Independent

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