London’s main market is up 0.26 per cent at lunchtime as positive corporate results helped outweigh economic concerns arising from coronavirus lockdowns.
However, some of the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 include housebuilders Barratt, Berkeley and Persimmon.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a new levy on property developers to help cover the cost of removing the dangerous cladding that lead to the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The largest gainers on the FTSE 100 are almost exclusively miners, with Anglo American, Antofagasta and BHP all up.
The FTSE 250 was down 0.2 per cent at 21,061.
London’s biggest stocks were held back yesterday by the continued resurgence of sterling, which rose to its highest level in almost three years, above $1.38. The pound is pushing towards $1.40 today but the FTSE remains in the green.
This morning’s opening signals a return to momentum as vaccine rollouts continue to stimulate cautious optimism amongst traders.
One of today’s biggest winner was homeware retailer Dunelm, whose shares on the FTSE 250 soared 6.7 per cent higher thanks to strong online demand.
Packaging company Smurfit Kappa and Glencore also performed well, up 3.1 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.
Richard Flood, investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said: “This is a great set of results from Smurfit Kappa.
“Strong demand for packaging has been driven by the ongoing trend towards online shopping and the higher consumption of physical goods over services in 2020.”
Wall Street opens higher ahead of Powell speech
The party continues on Wall Street this afternoon with the benchmark S&P 500 opening 0.39 per cent higher, a new record. The Dow Jones is up 105 points to 31,481 while Nasdaq climbed 0.5 per cent.
Investors were buoyed after new data from the Labor Department showed underlying inflation remained benign in January. The US consumer price index rose 0.3 per cent.
A solid set of corporate earnings has helped indices rise too. Coca-Cola rose one per cent after beating analysts’ estimates for its fourth quarter earnings. Twitter jumped nearly 14 per cent after posting record revenue of $1.3bn.
Fed chair Jerome Powell’s remarks could spark volatility later in the session as he gives clues as to the pace of the economic recovery.