US optimism drives FTSE turnaround after ‘disappointing’ May GDP figures

A strong opening by US stocks helped the FTSE 100 complete a major turnaround to nudge into the green after statisticians revealed that UK GDP fell below expectations in May.

The index opened in decline after economists revealed only 1.8% economic growth but shot into positive territory after the US indices opened for trading.

Trading had also taken a hit from a stark warning by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that the economy may not return to its pre-virus peak until 2024.

London’s top flight closed 3.56 points higher at 6,179.75p at the end of trading on Tuesday.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “The FTSE managed the biggest turnaround, cutting its losses to a quarter of what they were in the aftermath of this morning’s disappointing May GDP and the subsequent warnings that came from the OBR.”

The value of the pound slipped lower as sentiment was hit by the GDP reading, the OBR’s warning over the sustained impact of the crisis and wider caution ahead of more data on Wednesday, with the latest UK inflation reading.

The pound slid 0.07% versus the US dollar at 1.254 and was down 0.58% against the euro at 1.100.

The major European markets tumbled as continued health concerns and rising tensions in relation to China weighed on stocks.

The German Dax decreased by 0.97%, while the French Cac moved 1.15% lower.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones opened higher as positive figures from JP Morgan set the tone despite continued concerns over the consistently high number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

BT Group jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 after the UK Government gave it longer than expected to remove Huawei equipment from its 5G mobile network.

The UK government said telecoms companies would need to rip out all of the Chinese tech giant’s equipment from their networks by 2027. BT moved 4.5p higher to 115.6p.

Elsewhere in company news, shares in Ocado slipped after it posted first-half pre-tax losses of £40.6 million after it spent heavily on the roll-out of its overseas technology offering.

The company also reported a 27% jump in retail revenues to £1.02 billion due to “unprecedented” demand during the six months to May 31.

Shares closed down 44.5p at 1,988.5p.

Soft drink manufacturer Fever-Tree saw shares fall after it was hit heavily by the closure of bars and restaurants.

The company also said it saw sales at UK supermarkets and shops jump by more than a third in the past three months.

Shares dipped by 118p to 2,300p at the close of play on Tuesday.

Eyewear manufacturer Inspecs saw shares jump after it acquired the manufacturing operations of lens manufacturer Norville from administrators.

Inspecs shares moved 15p higher to 210p.

The price of oil moved higher as it rebounded from Monday’s session.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil increased by 2.08 to 43.1 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were BT Group, up 4.5p at 115.6p, BP, up 7.85p at 304.5p, Imperial Brands, up 35.5p at 1,442.5p, and Royal Dutch Shell, up 29.8p at 1,247.6p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 66p at 893p, Halma, down 104p at 2,187p, Persimmon, down 113p at 2,543p, and JD Sports, down 26.4p at 619.2p.

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