Tuesday 9 February 2021 5:06 pm

FTSE 100 closes flat while Wall Street rally loses steam

The FTSE 100 closed flat on Tuesday afternoon while Wall Street retreated on the back off a record session yesterday.

London’s blue-chip index closed 0.12 per cent higher as sterling rose to a near three-month high, largely because the dollar floundered as investors eyed a large stimulus package on the horizon.

The FTSE 250 closed up just 0.13 per cent.

Oil prices reached new records earlier today, climbing to a 13 month high due to a combination of supply cuts by major producers and optimism over a recovery in fuel demand support energy markets.

Ocado slips as customer numbers fall

Ocado reported a sharp rise in sales and profits but slipped two per cent as customers number dropped despite reporting a sharp rise in sales and profits.

Underlying profit of £148m was well ahead of forecasts and an increase in average order size helped sales rise 35 per cent, offsetting a drop in customer numbers from 795,000 to 680,000.

Ocado warned that the impact of the pandemic on grocery shopping habits is permanent.

Read more: BREAKING: Bitcoin pushes past $48,000 to new record high

“These changes are great news for Ocado which has positioned itself right at the centre of the transition in the supermarket sector,” Russ Mould, AJ Bell’s investment director said.

“Ocado still needs to deliver on profit but it is getting closer, with losses narrowing significantly. It has faced teething problems, sometimes struggling to keep up with demand but for the most part it has coped with the rapid shifts in customer purchasing patterns over the last 12 months.”

The online grocer closed down 1.68 per cent.

Mining firm Evraz and consumer credit company Experian were the FTSE’s biggest fallers this afternoon, both dropping 2.8 per cent.

Wall Street falters after hitting fresh highs

Wall Street was experiencing somewhat of a hangover from Monday’s record highs. The S&P broke through 3,900 and the Nasdaq closed within a few points of 14,000.

Now the benchmark S&P index is trading down 0.13 per cent while the Dow Jones slipped 33 points to 31,352 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq edged 0.16 per cent higher to break through 14,000.

Bitcoin’s rally has continued into its second day following news that Elon Musk’s Tesla has pumped $1.5bn into the cryptocurrency and the electric carmaker announced it would start taking it as payment.

Earlier this morning Bitcoin hit a new record high of $48,216 before inching back to trade up nearly nine per cent at $46,915 by 5pm.

The Gamestop mania however seems to be coming to an end, with shares plummeting more than 16 per cent as the fear associated with short squeezes dissipate.

The so-called meme stock has made a round-trip from $65 to a an intra-high of north of $480 and is now trading under $50 in just 12 trading sessions.