London markets rise despite caution over Hong Kong protests

The London markets closed in the green despite coming under pressure from China-Hong Kong tensions and a tepid opening in the US.

The FTSE 100 hit its latest two-month high as traders remained optimistic despite the US revealing worse-than-predicted jobless figures.

London’s top flight closed 74.54 points higher at 6,218.79p at the end of trading on Thursday.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Even with the Dow Jones losing some of its swagger, the European indices clung fiercely to their optimistic rally on Thursday.

“For the FTSE, it had to overcome the heavy losses incurred by Standard Chartered and HSBC, which fell 4.6% and 3.1% respectively on the China-Hong Kong developments.

“That didn’t stop the UK from climbing, briefly sauntering past 6225 for the first time since early March.”

HSBC and Standard Chartered slipped lower as finance firms were weighed down by concerns over the latest wave of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The major European markets slipped slightly from intraday highs but remained hopeful about loosening lockdown restrictions.

The German Dax increased by 1.06%, while the French Cac moved 1.76% higher.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones made marginal gains despite new figures revealing that the US economy contracted by 5% in the first quarter.

However, the gains were much more muted that predicted as tensions in Hong Kong also caused caution among traders.

Meanwhile, sterling nudged higher despite Michael Saunders of the Bank of England, saying the bank does not have much wiggle room in terms of monetary policy.

The value of the pound rose 0.52% versus the US dollar at 1.232, and was up 0.01% against the euro at 1.114.

Retailers, such as Next and Burberry, bounced higher as preparations continue to get stores reopened on UK high streets on June 15.

In company news, Boohoo jumped after the online retailer bought the remaining stake of Pretty Little Thing from its founder and operating chief for £269.8 million.

Umar Kamani, who founded Pretty Little Thing, could see the amount rise by £54 million if the deal can help Boohoo shares hit 491p a share for a six-month period at some point over the next four years.

Shares in Boohoo rose 49.7p to 384.6p.

Cineworld shares leapt higher after it said it hopes to start showing films in all its cinemas in July.

Bosses at the chain said that its cinemas up and down the country would open when restrictions are lifted.

Shares closed 16.56p higher at 93.84p as a result.

Elsewhere, easyJet closed in the green despite announcing that up to 4,500 staff could lose their jobs under plans announced by the airline.

The Luton-based carrier said it intends to reduce its workforce by up to 30% as it cuts the size of its fleet due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares closed 31.4p higher at 740p.

The price of oil dipped on the back of some concerns over Russia’s commitment to keep its historic productions cuts in place.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil increased 3.26% to 35.21 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were M&G, up 10p at 150p, Burberry, up 103.5p at 1,583.5p, Evraz, up 17.9p at 290.7p, and Melrose, up 7.2p at 125.85p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Rolls-Royce, down 27.1p at 319p, Standard Chartered, down 19.3p at 392.1p, Meggitt, down 9.8p at 295p, and HSBC, down 12.25p at 384.35p.

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