20th February 2019 at 5:13 pm
UK and European stocks were higher, amid rising hopes the world’s two largest economies could soon secure a trade deal to end a protracted dispute.
US Stocks rose as investors looked ahead to the release of a summary from the Federal Reserve’s meeting in January.
The dollar recovered from the previous sessions’ roughly two-week lows to trade slightly higher on the day within narrow ranges as traders remained cautious ahead of the release of US monetary policy minutes.
Gold topped a 10-month peak on hopes of a US-China trade truce.
In corporate news, Lloyds was one of the top risers even though full-year profits came in slightly short of expectations due to higher remediation costs, but investors were swayed by a 5% dividend hike and a £1.75bn share buyback that was at the upper range of expectations.
Clothing chain Next was also on the leader board, this continues the theme of an expected consumer spending boost on the back of recent UK economic data. This week wage growth was confirmed in December as remaining well above inflation. A lot hangs on Brexit, analysts caution, but some investors are already betting on potential bargains in the sector on the chance that a deal can be struck.
Sainsbury’s was at the bottom of the index after the Competition & Markets Authority hinted that it was minded to block the supermarket group’s merger with Asda, warning it could result in higher prices and reduced ranges in hundreds of local areas. Sainsbury’s shares tumbled more than 18%.
Centrica was in the red a day ahead of its results. There was also a cautious note from credit agency S&P about recent details published by energy regulator Ofcom on its proposed methodology for the new price control framework for gas distribution and gas and electricity transmission.
At the close
FTSE 100 7,228 +0.69%
FTSE 250 19,202 +0.70%
DAX 11,401 +0.82%
Dow Jones 25,931 +0.15%
S&P 500 2,783 +0.13%
NASDAQ 7,504 +0.24%
UK 10-YR YIELD 1.18
Gold $1,345 +0.41%
Brent $67.24 +1.20%
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