MARKET REPORT: FTSE 100 notches up its best month for two years


The FTSE 100 clocked up its best month for two years in a boost for investors in a roller-coaster year.

It added another 0.8 per cent, or 61.05 points, to 7,573.05, taking the gains in November to 6.74 per cent. 

That rounded off the best month since November 2020 when the Footsie rose 12.35 per cent following a major Covid vaccine breakthrough.

The FTSE 100 added another 0.8%, or 61.05 points, to 7,573.05, taking the gains in November to 6.74%- its best month since November 2020

The FTSE 250 fared less well, falling 0.1 per cent, or 22.83 points to 19,163.33. But the rally in the top flight will be a welcome relief for investors after months of turmoil. The FTSE 100 is now at its highest level since May.

Mining stocks led the charge amid hopes that a relaxation in Covid restrictions will boost demand for raw materials.

Anglo American rose 3.6 per cent, or 118p, to 3407.5p, Antofagasta added 3.3 per cent, or 44.5p, to 1408.5p, Endeavour Mining was up 2.6 per cent, or 44p, to 1731p and Glencore gained 2.3 per cent, or 12.7p, to 563.5p.

Retailers enjoyed a strong month overall, despite the squeeze on living standards. Frasers group, Ocado, JD Sports and B&M European Retail all gained between 25 per cent and 40 per cent in November. But there was little joy for luxury goods group Mulberry, however.

Shares plunged 8.1 per cent, or 23p, to 262p after it warned the cost of living squeeze and the end of VAT-free shopping for overseas tourists was hitting business in the UK. 

Revenue fell 1pc to £64.9million in the 26 weeks to October 1, and sales in Britain tumbled 10 per cent to £34.1million. That contributed to a first-half loss of £3.8million, compared with a profit of £10.2million a year earlier.

Stock Watch – Strix

Strix issued a profit warning due to disruption caused by lockdowns and unrest in China. 

The kettle controls maker, which has major operations in the world’s second largest economy, said profit for the year should be around £23million, down on its previous range of £27million to £29million.

Disruption in China has hit two customers. Strix is using a secondary warehouse to avoid issues with its shipments but warned the uncertainties could persist into next year. 

It fell 40.1 per cent, or 49.9p, to 74.7p.

Pennon sank into the red after soaring energy bills hit profits. The South West Water owner said its power costs doubled to around £49million in the six months to September from £24million a year earlier.

Profit plunged by three-quarters to £22.5million despite revenue rising 9.3 per cent to £425.5million. The stock fell 3.1 per cent, or 29p, to 910p.

In the latest FTSE reshuffle, fund manager Abrdn (down 5.3 per cent, or 10.8p, to 194.4p), Lloyd’s of London insurer Beazley (down 0.2 per cent, or 1.5p, to 649.5p) and engineer Weir Group (2.5 per cent, or 46p, to 1771.5p) entered the top tier.

Meanwhile animal medicine maker Dechra Pharmaceuticals (up 1.7 per cent, or 46p ,to 2720p), North Sea producer Harbour Energy (up 1.63 per cent or 5.10p to 318.50p) and private equity outfit Intermediate Capital Group (down 0.5 per cent, or 6p, to 1193.5p), dropped down from the FTSE 100

AstraZeneca, which has the largest market cap in the FTSE 100, sold a US site to the tech-focused manufacturing company National Resilience. Shares inched up 1 per cent, or 106p, to 11,166p.

Elementis rose 6.5 per cent or 7.1p to 115.9p after the chemical group streamlined operations by selling its Chromium business to the Dutch-Turkish industrial conglomerate Yildirim for £141.75million.

Rolls-Royce received a boost after Barclays said the jet engine maker’s share price could grow by almost a quarter, and set a target price of 110p after shares closed at 89p on Monday. Shares rose 2 per cent, or 1.8p, to 90.92p.

Loungers, the restaurant, bar and cafe operator, revealed sales over the 32 weeks to November 27 were up 17.4 per cent against 2019 before the pandemic struck. 

Revenue rose 19.5 per cent to £122.3million in the 24 weeks to October 2. But profit fell to £2.8million, compared with £12.8million a year earlier, It dipped 0.3 per cent, or 0.5p, to 191.5p.

Meanwhile the outgoing boss of Whitbread is to take over as chair at Dunelm. Alison Brittain is set to leave the Premier Inn owner in January and will succeed Andy Harrison as chair of the home furnishings retailer.

Dunelm inched up 0.30 per cent, or 3p, to 1006p while Whitbread rose 0.1 per cent, or 2p, to 2584p.

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