Gambling and bargain discounters were among the biggest risers on London’s top index amid a slew of weak economic data.
ONS statistics published yesterday show that the price of everyday goods such as pasta, chips and vegetable oil are soaring as the cost of living crisis mounts.
The day before, PMI figures revealed that output in the manufacturing and services sectors in October shrank at the fastest pace since January 2021, hinting that the UK might already be in recession. But even in a crisis there are winners.
Top of the market was gambling giant Flutter, which saw its shares rise 5.6 per cent, or 600p, to 11375p as punters enjoy a bet during a downturn.
Winner: Paddy Power and Betfair-owner Flutter saw its shares rise 5.6% as punters enjoy a bet during a downturn
And B&M European Value Retail, where Terry Leahy, the former chief executive of Tesco (up 0.1 per cent, or 0.2p, to 211p), was chairman before he left for Morrisons, gained 4.8 per cent, or 14.6p, to 320.4p with consumers looking to snap up everyday goods such as curtains, cutlery and vacuum cleaners on the cheap.
Neil Wilson, analyst at Markets, said: ‘It is grim out there at the moment but there are goods that everybody needs. B&M always does well in a downturn as do the bookies. It’s a sort of escapism.’
The FTSE 100 barely moved, dropping a minuscule 0.007 per cent, or 0.51 points, to 7013.48, whereas the FTSE 250 gained 2.9 per cent, or 494.08 points, to 17831.63.
As Rishi Sunak began his first day as Prime Minister, most traders were focused on what moves he will make to stabilise the economy following the chaos of his short-lived predecessor Liz Truss.
AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson said: ‘It was a good move to keep Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in place.
Not to do so would have unsettled investors who are eagerly awaiting the Halloween Budget next week. They don’t need anything to spook them before that.’
But miners once again weighed on the blue-chip index amid ongoing concerns of a demand hit following the slowdown in Chinese economic growth.
Stock Watch – Scancell
Investors in Scancell cheered after the biotechnology group landed a £544million deal.
The company will work with Danish-based Genmab, which is listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange and the Nasdaq exchange in New York, to develop and commercialise an antibody to treat illnesses such as cancer.
Scancell chief executive Lindy Durrant hailed the deal with Genmab.
Shares surged 17.3 per cent, or 2.3p, to 15.4p.
Anglo American dropped 1 per cent, or 28p, at 2658.5p and Rio Tinto slipped 0.8 per cent, or 36p, to 4714p.
But both Antofagasta (up 2.1 per cent, or 24p, to 1146.5p) and Glencore (up 0.2 per cent, or 0.8p, to 502.7p) bucked the trend by recovering after losses in early trading.
Banking stocks were also a mixed bag after HSBC (down 6.8 per cent, or 32.45p, at 442.65p) flagged rising losses amid the global economic downturn and a crisis in China’s property sector.
Fellow Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered slumped 1.3 per cent, or 7.2p, to 554.4p, but after falls earlier in the day, Barclays gained 0.9 per cent, or 1.28p, to 150.22p, Lloyds lifted 1 per cent, or 0.44p, to 42.98p and Natwest rose 1.6 per cent, or 3.9p, to 244.4p.
Shares in commercial property firms and real estate investment trusts soared on a positive day for the sector.
Warehouse giant Segro was up 7.1 per cent, or 52.8p, to 798p after Berenberg maintained its ‘buy’ rating on the stock even though the broker cut the target price to 1040p from 1260p.
There was also good news for Urban Logistics after the property investment group cheered an increase in rental rates, lettings and acquisitions.
Rental rates were 59 per cent higher between April and September compared with a year earlier, while 12 new lettings helped to bring in an extra £4million.
Urban Logistics also completed 13 takeovers in the period, including an industrial warehouse in Glasgow.
Shares surged 11.6 per cent, or 14.5p, to 140p.
MoneySupermarket shot up 3 per cent, or 5.2p, to 177.6p after the Canadian bank RBC insisted last week’s sharp sell-off in response to the launch of Amazon Insurance Store was ‘excessive’.