FTSE 100 on track for record closing high, Ocado jumps

The FTSE 100 surged higher on Monday in a strong rally, which took the index above the record closing high of 8,015.

London’s leading index has traded above this intraday recently but hasn’t yet closed above the record high set in February 2023. Traders will watch closely to see if Monday’s cyclical-led rally can hold and ensure the FTSE 100 joins other major indices that have broken to new highs in 2024.

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The FTSE 100’s defensive nature is well documented, and its weighting towards commodities such as oil and banks helped the index outperform over the past week as US and European stocks have suffered amid rising geopolitical risks.

This built a base for the index to launch an attack at all-time highs on Monday as tensions eased and more cyclical names rebounded in a broad rally.

“The FTSE 100 bounced back strongly on Monday amid relief that tensions in the Middle East seem to have been contained for now,” says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“Travel and retail stocks were among the gainers on the FTSE 100, with precious metals miner Fresnillo the only stock showing notable weakness, with gold and silver prices dipping as demand for safe havens eased.”

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Fresnillo was one of only a few decliners on Monday as the FTSE 100 traded at 8,028, up 1.6% on the day.


Housebuilders were among the best performers after Rightmove said UK house prices jumped and average prices were again within touching distance of record highs.

Persimmon rose 2.7% and Taylor Wimpey built 1.2%.

Rightmove explained that higher-valued properties led the charge as many still struggled with affordability.

“The top-of-the-ladder sector continues to drive pricing activity at the start of the year, with movers in this sector typically less sensitive to higher mortgage rates, and more equity rich, contributing to their ability to move. While some buyers, across all sectors, will feel that their affordability has improved compared to last year due to wage growth and stable house prices, others will be more impacted by cost-of-living challenges and stickier than expected high mortgage rates,” said Tim Bannister Rightmove’s Director of Property Science

“Despite these factors,  it has been a positive start to the year in comparison to the more muted start to 2023. However, agents report that the market remains very price-sensitive, and despite the current optimism, these are not the conditions to support substantial price growth. Sellers who are keen to secure their sale will still need to price realistically for their local market and avoid being overambitious at the start of marketing to give themselves the best chance of finding a buyer.”


Ocado was the top riser at the time of writing amid reports shareholders are pushing for the company to switch its listing to the US. Ocado shares were 4% to the good after suggestions the premium grocery delivery and food distribution technology could leave London for the US to seek a better valuation.

Ocado would be the latest in a long line of companies either moving or signalling a potential to move to the US as UK stocks trade at discounts to peers over the pond.

“Ocado is the latest name to be banded around as a potential defector from the UK stock market. Weekend reports suggest certain shareholders want it to switch listing venue to the US, a move that others have made to achieve a higher valuation,” Russ Mould said.

“While Ocado is best known to the UK public for its grocery delivery service, the company’s future lies in the provision of technology and robotic systems to power grocery warehouses. It has a partnership in the US with Kroger, one of America’s largest grocery retailers, and that association could help it appeal to investors in the country.

“Ocado would no doubt dearly love to be seen as a tech company, as that would not only help its aspirations to be a much bigger player in the grocery services industry, but also to get investors to ascribe a different and potentially higher earnings multiple to its stock.”

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