The FTSE 100 bounced up to over 6,550 in early morning trade on positive announcements from some of the index’s flagship companies today. Upbeat reports from AstraZeneca, Coca-Cola HBC and RELX each disclosed optimistic outlooks for the coming year. By mid-morning the index had retreated back down towards yesterday’s closing levels in a continuation of recent sideways movements.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, drew attention to some underlying dynamics keeping the FTSE 100 pinned back.
“The FTSE 100 has now been treading water for more than a week as strong sterling weighs on the large number of index members which earn in different currencies. Markets across Europe and Asia were also static on Thursday with investors sitting on their hands, waiting for progress updates on the US stimulus plan and vaccination numbers,” Mould said.
“On the UK market, healthcare and industrials did their best to spur the FTSE 100 forward but the index was held back by investors not being convinced by Royal Dutch Shell’s strategy update. Weakness among banks also weighed on the index.”
FTSE 100 movers
At mid-morning trade, Intertek (3.4%), Coca-Cola (3.25%) and Just Eat (3.06%) were the biggest risers on the FTSE 100.
Down at the bottom of the FTSE 100, Natwest (-2.64%), International Consolidated Airlines (-2.42%) and Land Securities (-2.16%) are the day’s biggest fallers so far.
AstreZeneca’s share price jumped by nearly 2% to 7,386p at market opening following news that the pharmaceutical company surpassed its Q4 earnings expectations.
AstraZeneca also announced it would be speeding up its process of developing a vaccine adapted to the new variants of Covid-19.
The soft drinks company posted a dip in profit levels for 2020 as sales were hit by lockdowns’ impact on bars and restaurants.
Despite the drop, Coca-Cola HBC was one of the day’s top performers on the FTSE 100 based on its forecast of a strong recovery in 2021.