FTSE 100 close: ASOS and Centrica pop to crystalise strong start to 2023
London’s FTSE 100 built on gains yesterday that propelled to its highest level since 2018 after a series of British bellwether retailers posted a decent set of results this morning and the owner of British Gas skyrocketed.
The capital’s premier index closed up 0.89 per cent at 7,794.04 points, while the domestically-focused, mid-cap FTSE 250 index, which is more aligned with the health of the UK economy, shot up 1.64 per cent to 19,841.13 points.
There were yet more signs that the UK consumer spending is holding up better than feared amid the cost-of-living crisis, as firms from supermarkets and high street fashion firms strengthened risk sentiment.
Britain’s largest supermarket Tesco said today sales jumped nearly six per cent over the last quarter and ramped up over Christmas as households splashed the cash of food and drink during the festivities.
FTSE 100 finished higher today
Despite signs Brits are trading down to cheaper supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, Tesco has retained its spot as the country’s largest food shop and shielded its market share of 27.5 per cent.
“Such a dominant position is hard-earned and the group has little intention of easing up the pressure on its competitors,” Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, said.
The supermarket’s FTSE 100-listed shares fell around 0.7 per cent in the City today. However, other retailers including JD Sports rose after it reported more positive spending news yesterday.
Marks and Spencer, listed on the mid-cap index, dropped nearly two per cent this morning despite posting strong sales for the third quarter today. It eventually dropped just over 0.1 per cent.
Sainsbury’s earlier this week said profits will come in above expectations. Its shares lost over one per cent.
Traders are seemingly focusing more closely on retailers’ long term predictions for consumer spending.
Elsewhere, British Gas-owner Centrica propelled to near the top of the index after it said it expects an eight fold profit increase when it posts earnings on 16 February. It closed up 3.79 per cent.
Online fashion retailer ASOS soared over a fifth per cent to send it to the summit of the FTSE 250 after it said plans to revamp the business are on track. Its shares have had a torrid time over the last year, shedding more than 70 per cent as shoppers return to high street after the end of Covid-19 restrictions.
Pound sterling strengthened 0.8 per cent against the US dollar.
Oil prices nudged higher.