Equity markets make gains as Reddit rally loses steam

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Global markets lifted on Tuesday as the Reddit-led market rally ground to a halt.

Major traders took control as GameStop shares sank, with trading calm and focus on President Biden’s stimulus plan helping to drive US and European markets firmly into the black.

The FTSE 100 closed 50.23 points, or 0.78%, higher at 6,516.65 at the close of play on Tuesday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said “commodity stocks” nevertheless held back the London index against its European counterparts.

“Disappointing results from BP, plus a pullback in miners like BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Glencore are the reasons why the British index is showing roughly half the percentage gains of the continental benchmarks,” he said.

Elsewhere in Europe, the other major markets passed 1% growth, even though there was speculation that Germany’s state of emergency could be extended until June.

The German Dax was 1.48% higher and the French Cac moved 1.86% higher.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones jumped as the bulls took control again as the Reddit-driven army of retail investors pulled back.

Mr Madden said: “One could argue that normal service has resumed as the established players are buying back into stocks.”

Meanwhile, sterling was lower against the dollar which pushed to its highest position since early December.

The pound decreased by 0.11% versus the US dollar to 1.364 and was up 0.22% against the euro at 1.135.

In company news, BP slipped towards the foot of the FTSE after it swung to its biggest-ever annual loss.

Plunging oil prices and demand during the pandemic sent it tumbling into the red by 18.1 billion US dollars (£13.2 billion).

It closed 12.1p lower at 255p after it warned global demand will remain under pressure throughout the first quarter.

Online card and gift business Moonpig saw shares lift on its debut as investors were once again keen to buy into e-commerce.

The company, which saw revenues jumped 44% to £173 million in the half-year to October, finished 60p higher at 410p.

Aston Martin made strong gains on the back of potential takeover chatter despite pouring cold water despite pouring cold water on reports it could be sold to Chinese electric-vehicle company BYD.

Shareholders were nonetheless hopeful a bid could be made, driving shares up 170p to 2,273 at the end of trading.

Fresnillo slid lower as trading on the miner retreated following Monday’s rally in silver prices.

The buzz around the market faded, especially seeing as futures exchanges have raised their margin requirements, which is a typical reaction when volatility surges. It closed 52p lower at 1,024p.

The price of oil moved higher despite OPEC lowering its 2021 demand outlook to 5.6 million barrels per day.

The price of Brent crude oil increased by 2.32% to 57.66 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Intercontinental Hotel Group, up 269p to 4,876p, Whitbread, up 166p to 3,016p, IAG, up 7.25p to 149.95p, Informa, up 22.8p to 526.6p, and Melrose Industries, up 6.95p to 178.15p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, down 52p to 1,024p, BP, down 12.1p to 255p, Just Eat Takeaway.com, down 280p to 8,134p, Pearson, down 21.8p to 745.4p, and Anglo American, down 62.5p to 2,429p.

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