FTSE falls quiet after rip-roaring Monday

August Graham, PA City Reporter

Tuesday proved timid in the trading terminals of London, following a strong session a day earlier.

The FTSE 100 group of the biggest companies in the capital spent most of the day not being clear which side of zero it wanted to end on.

After much back and forth, the index eventually settled down 0.1%, a 7.25 point drop, to 6,748.86.

Shares had soared on Monday as the news of the UK’s vaccine rollout was seen favourably by investors who trade in London’s biggest companies.

More than 15 million people in the UK have so far been given their first jab, putting the country on course for being able to loosen restrictions in coming months.

That would allow large parts of the economy, and many businesses that have been mothballed, to start up again.

Although the general performance on Tuesday’s FTSE looked rather different to the day before, some companies performed similarly to Monday.

Near the top were miners such as Glencore and BHP, both of whom released good dividend news for shareholders, as well as British Airways owner IAG, which is looking forward to restrictions being removed.

The other side of the coin included Fresnillo, which had been one of only two companies in the red on Monday.

US markets had been closed for Presidents’ Day during Europe’s strong performance on Monday.

However, any hope from investors in New York that they might replicate that on Tuesday proved misplaced.

By the time markets had closed in Europe, the S&P 500 was trading flat, while the Dow Jones had added only 0.2%.

The main French index, the Cac, closed flat, while the Frankfurt Dax dropped 0.3%.

Sterling was flat against the US currency, buying 1.391 dollars, but gained 0.2% against the euro, to 1.1488.

Dunelm’s shares tumbled by 6.8% after it was revealed that its deputy chairman sold off £192 million worth of shares in the company.

Shares in Serco jumped by 4.8% after revealing that it had bought US defence contractor Whitney, Bradley & Brown for more than £200 million, adding 20% to its revenue in North America.

Virgin Wine revealed that it will soon list on London’s AIM market, reportedly at a value of around £100 million.

BHP’s shares rose by 1.5% after revealing it would pay out a record interim dividend amid its best first-half profit in seven years.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were HSBC, up 17.3p to 427.75p, Rolls-Royce, up 3.86p to 99.94p, Antofagasta, up 44.5p to 1636p, Glencore, up 5.7p to 288p, and Prudential, up 21.5p to 1396p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were DS Smith, down 13.8p to 396p, SSE, down 44.5p to 1418.5p, Pennon Group, down 23.2p to 918p, United Utilities, down 22.2p to 932.2p, and Severn Trent, down 49p to 2327p.

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