MARKET REPORT: Banking stocks rebound after Credit Suisse rescue

Banking stocks led the Footsie higher as the mood brightened over the health of the sector.

In a session that brought much-needed respite for investors, NatWest surged 5.7 per cent, or 14.6p, to 272.4p, Barclays gained 5 per cent, or 6.78p, to 143.14p and Lloyds added 4.5 per cent, or 2.06p, to 48.16p.

There were gains too for Standard Chartered (up 4.7 per cent, or 28.6p, to 643.6p) and HSBC (up 2.3 per cent, or 12.3p, to 554p).

Rebound: In a trading session that brought much-needed respite for investors, NatWest surged 5.7%, Barclays gained 5% and Lloyds added 4.5%

The rally came a day after a brutal fortnight that has seen the collapse of three US banks and Swiss giant UBS step in to save arch-rival Credit Suisse.

The crisis in the banking sector has put central banks in sharp focus as they weigh up whether to press on with interest rate hikes to tame inflation or take a breather to ease pressure on the financial system. 

The US Federal Reserve will announce its latest decision on rates today and the Bank of England will go tomorrow.

The FTSE 100 rose 1.8 per cent, or 132.37 points, to 7536.22 and the FTSE 250 was up 1.5 per cent, or 283.97 points, to 18779.1. 

Education group Pearson has agreed to sell its online learning services unit to the private equity firm Regent. Shares slid 1 per cent, or 8.4p, to 831p.

Meanwhile, the boss of Oxford Nanopore Technologies suggested it could explore an additional listing as a host of firms shun London for New York.

The gene sequencing company has lost more than half its value since shares floated in London at 425p in September 2021.

Chief executive Gordon Sanghera said his firm’s listing in London is not ‘irreversible’.

The comments came as the company delivered a positive set of results in its first full year as a public company. 

Stock Watch – Renalytix 

Diagnostics group Renalytix will have to wait another three months to see if US regulators approve its kidney-disease testing platform.

It said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had indicated a decision would be made before the end of the first quarter. 

But now the watchdog said it needed more time to complete the process, meaning an outcome should be announced by the end of the second quarter.

Shares tumbled 13.9 per cent, or 12.5p, to 77.5p.

The firm said its total losses across the business narrowed from £167.6million in 2021 to £91million last year. Shares soared 13.8 per cent, or 24.4p, to 201p.

Marketing group 4imprint received a boost after Liberum raised its target price to 5500p from 5000p. Shares rose 8.6 per cent, or 405p, to 5090p.

Rolls-Royce soared 6.4 per cent, or 9.02p, to 150p after the jet engine maker signed a memorandum of understanding with Fortum, a Finnish state-owned energy firm, to work on rolling out small modular reactors in Finland and in Sweden. 

Business looked good for ScS after the sofa and flooring seller said its orders rose 5.7 per cent in the seven weeks to March 18. Shares rose 5.4 per cent, or 9.75p, to 189.75p.

Peter Holten Muhlmann, the founder of Trustpilot, will step down as chief executive to focus on becoming an evangelist and brand ambassador for the online review website. 

The news came as Trustpilot narrowed its losses from £21.2million in 2021 to £12million last year. Shares, which floated at 265p in March 2021, inched up 0.3 per cent, or 0.25p, to 92.75p.

Land development firm Henry Boot hiked its dividend by 10 per cent after it reported record profits of £56.1million for 2022. 

The company said there were signs the market conditions were improving this year. Shares advanced 0.5 per cent, or 1p, to 225p.

Likewise, YouGov saw its profits jump 128 per cent to £21million in the six months to January 31 as the polling firm said demand in the UK has improved even in the face of recession. Shares rose 3.4 per cent, or 30p, to 920p.

Zotefoams, which makes the soles of Nike’s high-performance shoes, reported record revenues of £127.4million for 2022. Shares rose 0.6 per cent, or 2p, to 346p.

And Quixant, which makes hardware for the gaming industry, posted record revenues of £98.3million last year as casinos reopened.

It has proposed changing its name to Nexteq while keeping Quixant as the gaming brand.

Shares shot up yesterday by 5.7 per cent, or 10p, to 186p.