FTSE jumps as City traders welcome Chancellor’s furlough plan

The FTSE bounced as traders welcomed the Chancellor’s plans to extend the Government’s furlough scheme.

London’s markets thus stood tall ahead of their European counterparts, which continued to be dogged by fears that a second wave of coronavirus could halt plans to reopen the economy.

The FTSE 100 closed 55.04 points higher at 5,994.77p at the end of trading on Tuesday.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “There were a couple of major factors at play helping the UK index out.

“The extension of the Government’s furlough scheme until the end of October was a clear boost, even if questions remain about companies sharing some of the cost from August onwards.”

Europe’s other key markets were broadly mixed but more muted as dealers wait for more evidence over whether or not infection rates might pick up again.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It is something that traders are mildly worried about at the moment, as it is a very real possibility, but it seems too early to say whether there will be a painful second wave of Covid-19 cases, or just the odd tick up in new infections.”

The German Dax decreased by 0.05%, while the French Cac moved 0.39% lower.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones opened fairly flat as traders were cautious about how reopening plans will affect different states.

Meanwhile, sterling was weaker as traders believed that the Chancellor’s furlough plans could weigh on the UK’s national debt for an extended period.

The value of the pound fell 0.34% versus the US dollar at 1.229 and was down 0.87% against the euro at 1.131.

Similarly to on Monday, multinational firms helped to bolster the performance of the FTSE, with British American Tobacco, Diageo and RB all strengthening again.

In company news, Vodafone pushed towards the top of the UK’s leading index after the company maintained its dividend.

The telecoms operator said it bounced back from a multibillion-euro loss to post a profit in its most recent financial year. Shares closed 9.88p higher at 122.88p as a result.

Elsewhere, Morrisons also closed in the green after it posted surging retail sales over a “volatile” first quarter.

The supermarket firm reported a 5.7% rise in group like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, in the 14 weeks to May 10. It saw shares rise 6.35p to 195.1p at the close of play.

Online retailer AO World jumped after it said sales of bread-makers and chest freezers surged due to the coronavirus lockdown. It increased by 4.9p to 90.5p.

Recently-listed Inspecs, which designs and manufactures eyewear and glasses, moved higher after reporting a jump in pre-tax profit in its first set of annual results since floating. Shares were up 5p to 170p.

The price of oil was subdued on Tuesday, nudging marginally higher due to Monday’s announcement that Saudi Arabia will cut production by an additional one million barrels per day come June.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil increased 0.8% to 30.18 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Vodafone, up 9.88p at 122.88p, Ocado, up 141.5p at 2,056p, Pennon Group, up 46.5p at 1,151.5p, and Imperial Brands, up 66p at 1,682p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Land Securities, down 80.6p at 551.8p, British Land, down 39.6p at 343.9p, Whitbread, down 163p at 2,675p, and Barratt Developments, down 18.3p at 491.7p.