The FTSE 100 is up 0.13 per cent today as fears about Omicron and inflation were soothed by stronger than expected retail sales.
Retail sales volumes rose by 1.4 per cent compared to the previous month, faster than analysts had expected, and were 7.2 per cent above their February 2020 level, the Office for National Statistics said today.
London’s premiere index has today jumped to highs of 7,286 points with hospitality and tourism leading gains. International consolidated airlines jumped 3.95 per cent while Associated British Foods is up 3.66 per cent.
On the flip side, energy stocks dragged the commodity heavy FTSE 100 as oil price forecasts dipped on Omicron fears and hawkish news that the Bank of England will be the first G7 country to raise interest rates amid spiralling inflation. Shell is down by 2.1 per cent today whilst BP shares tumbled by 1.53 per cent.
“Fears that a tidal wave of Omicron cases will dent growth in many countries have resurfaced with politicians and scientific advisors again urging extreme caution in the weeks to come,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“With expectation that demand will be hit, the oil price has slipped, hurting energy stocks like Shell and BP,” continued Streeter adding that “there is a spring in the step of high street retailers… following a much brighter sales snapshot for November.”
The mid-cap FTSE 250 index climbed by 0.59 per cent to stand at 22,780 points today. Consumer intelligence company Trustpilot led losses, tumbling by 7.54 per cent. Retail and hospitality stocks performed well with Restaurant Group jumping 6.21 per cent and Cineworld up by 8.19 per cent, leading gains.
In Europe the STOXX 600 index closed down by 0.56 per cent today whilst Germany’s Dax index dipped by 0.67 per cent.