Friday 30 April 2021 4:50 pm

FTSE closes higher as US stocks pause after busy week for earnings

The FTSE 100 closed higher today as the economic recovery optimism poised the index for its largest monthly gain since November last year.

The blue-chip index rose 0.2 per cent, boosted by positive earnings updates from AstraZeneca and Smurfit Kappa.

Meanwhile, the mid-cap FTSE 250 also rose by 0.56 per cent.

Both indexes have risen by almost four per cent each in April and remain on track for their third consecutive monthly gain this year.

Market movers

Astrazeneca closed the day up 4.76 per cent after forecasting higher sales in the second half of the year, while Smurfit Kappa saw gains on the back of posting a six per cent increase in quarterly revenue.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals closed the day down more than four per cent higher.

Barclays led the day’s fallers, closing down seven per cent, despite reporting first quarter profit had more than doubled to £2.4bn.

“The decision not to adjust its previous bad debt estimates, unlike most of its peer group, appears to have spooked the market along with a patchy investment banking performance and a cautious view on costs as Barclays looks at reducing its physical footprint,” Russ Mould, AJ Bell’s investment director said.

Ocado shed 3.94 per cent while Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment ended the day down 3.52 per cent.

Wall Street sinks despite upbeat economic data

Wall Street’s main indexes are trading down this afternoon but are all on track to end the month higher, as the vaccine rollout and fresh stimulus measures boosts confidence.

Data published today showed consumer spending rebounded last month amid a surge in income as households received additional pandemic relief money.

The S&P 500 fell 0.71 per cent but is on track for a third straight month of gains following a record run, while the Dow Jones shed 242 points. It is still on track to end in positive territory for the third month in a row.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading lower, with technology and energy leading declines.

Twitter plunged 13 per cent after offering a disappointing revenue forecast for the second quarter, predicting user growth could slow as the world emerges from the pandemic.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, trading 0.61 per cent lower, is primed for six consecutive months of gains after a strong week for tech stocks.

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