Markets jump on positive services data and FTSE 100 reshuffle confirmed


Markets closed the day out in positive territory as traders welcomed a series of encouraging data from China, the eurozone and the UK that showed the service sector was recovering.

FTSE 100 shares enjoyed its share of the spoils, closing the day up 162.27 points, or 2.6%, at 6,382.41.

The leading index could have closed higher had the pound not also had a strong day against the dollar, up 0.38% with a pound worth 1.260 dollars.

Typically the market rises when the pound weakens, due to shares becoming “cheaper” to foreign investors. But continuing unrest in the US is taking its toll on the currency.

Against the euro, it was down 0.32% at 1.120 euros.

In Europe, the Dax 30 closed up 3.9% and the Cac 40 closed up 3.4%.

The day started positively, thanks to strong Chinese services data, which hit 10-year highs as the country starts to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

In the UK, the IHS Markit Purchase Managers Index for May came in at 29 points, up from an all-time low of just 13.4 in April. Anything below 50 is seen as a shrinking sector, but investors appeared upbeat at the speed of its return.

David Madden, financial analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The strong services data from China overnight set the tone for the session.

“The reading was the highest since 2010, which is incredible seeing as the country was on lockdown earlier this year.

“Sticking with the services theme, reports from eurozone economies and the UK all showed major improvements from the readings posted in April.

“Everyone knows the lockdowns have been brutal in terms of the global economy, but there is a feeling that things are moving in the right direction.”

In company news, the end of trading marked the moment companies discovered whether they would be promoted or demoted between the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250.

EasyJet and cruise operator Carnival both fell out of the FTSE 100 in the latest reshuffle, along with British Gas owner Centrica and Meggitt.

Ladbrokes owner GVC, which has benefited from a rise in online gambling during the crisis, joined Avast, Kingfisher and Homeserve in gaining promotion to the top index.

“This FTSE reshuffle is highly reflective of the current crisis environment; out go stocks from sectors that have taken a beating and questions arise as to how and whether some of these can manage this crisis,” said Helal Miah at The Share Centre.

Elsewhere, Frankie and Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group (TRG) is set to permanently close between 100 and 120 restaurants, with the loss of up to 3,000 jobs, as the lockdown takes hold.

Investors were pleased with the action, sending up 8.4p to 73.95p.

Upper Crust owner SSP Group said it has suffered “extremely low sales” after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to shut sites. Investors appeared unperturbed, with shares closing up 9.8p at 315.2p.

And even investors in British Airways’ owner IAG followed the market, closing up 28.6p at 279.2p, despite Government suggestions it could lose some prime Heathrow slots.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, up 28.6p to 279.2p, Rolls-Royce, up 27.8p to 328.2p, easyJet, up 59.8p to 784.4p, Prudential, up 86.5p to 1,185p, and Whitbread, up 178p to 2,651p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Polymetal, down 105.5p to 1,498p, Fresnillo, down 46.8p to 746.8p, Hargreaves Lansdown, down 54p to 1,694.5p, Ashtead, down 25p to 2,479p, and Antofagasta, down 2.4p to 903.6p.