MARKET REPORT: Rishi’s rescue package sparks retail relief rally


Retail shares were an unexpected recipient of Rishi Sunak’s cost of living package.

Shares in Ocado, Marks & Spencer, Next and Primark-owner Associated British Foods all climbed sharply in the wake of the Chancellor’s announcement yesterday, having taken a hammering in recent weeks over concerns about the squeeze on household incomes from rising energy and other prices.

Among the blue chips, Ocado was up 11.5 per cent, or 88.8p, at 858.4p, discounter B&M European Value rose 7.3 per cent, or 30.9p, to 465.1p, Next rose 6.4 per cent, or 394p, to 6522p and Associated British Foods shot up 4.4 per cent, or 73p, to 1723.5p.

Retail recovery: Shares in Ocado, M&S, Next and Associated British Foods all climbed, having taken a hammering in recent weeks over concerns about the squeeze on household incomes 

While among the mid-caps M&S jumped 7.9 per cent, or 10.95p, to 149.6p, Currys climbed 7.4 per cent, or 5.95p, to 86.35p and Dunelm increased 5.5 per cent, or 47p, to 897p.

‘The hope is that shoppers will keep spending briskly, now that household incomes won’t take such a battering and will have more headroom to accept the higher prices many retailers are passing on, due to the higher costs of raw materials they are having to deal with,’ said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

One retail heavyweight that was late joining the relief rally was JD Sports, after news that boss Peter Cowgill was leaving landed late the day before.

Cowgill’s long tenure at the tracksuits-and-trainers retailer has come undone in rather abrupt circumstances, having delivered investors a share price gain of over 5000p since he took over as boss.

The FTSE 100 group, which was a penny share when the former accountant took over as executive chairman in 2004, said late yesterday that Cowgill has stepped down with immediate effect as ‘a consequence of an ongoing review of its internal governance and controls’. 

This followed the company being fined £4.3million earlier this year by the Competition and Markets Authority and with a potential probe looming into football shirt price fixing.

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Shares climbed 1.2 per cent, or 0.25p, at 20.5p.

Initially the stock fell, but at closing it had recovered to be up 6.4 per cent, or 7.15p, at 119.15p.

The wider market resumed its tentative ascent from earlier in the week, with the FTSE 100 up 0.6 per cent, or 42.17 points, to 7564.92. The FTSE 250 added 1.6 per cent, or 314.7 points, to 20248.74.

Aston Martin found some traction a day after skidding to a new low, with UK car data showing close to full production for the luxury manufacturing sector.

The shares revved up 9.7 per cent, or 59.4p, to 673.4p.

As ever, bigger jumps were seen among the small caps, with Poolbeg Pharma shares leaping 31.7 per cent, or 1.9p, to 7.9p after it was granted US patents protecting a potential flu treatment and a nasal spray for virus infections.

The strengthening of an existing partnership burnished the shares of Cyprus-focused Caerus Mineral Resources in a big way – they shot up 18 per cent, or 1.8p, to 11.8p.

Famous for its rich copper resources, the Mediterranean island is linked to the age of the electric vehicle thanks to new deal for the London-listed small cap.

Access to Caerus’s Cypriot copper is why EV Metals Group has renewed and significantly expanded its collaboration, as the European origin of the metal will allow it to be traded tariff-free under EU-UK trade rules.

The deal, which will see a ‘substantial investment’ made in Caerus that is designed to help it buy more mining European mining projects, follows EV Metals today agreeing the £50million acquisition of battery materials business from Johnson Matthey. 

Shareholders in the chemicals group were unimpressed, with Matthey’s shares falling 3.6 per cent, or 85p, to 2266p.

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