Ocado leads FTSE 100 after strong festive trading period

The FTSE 100 carved out more gains on Wednesday and continued 2022’s short, but convincing, move to the upside.

Among the top gainers were the supermarket who benefited from the release of festive trading data from Kantar that pointed to encouraging Christmas sales from all supermarkets.

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“The UK supermarkets may well be toasting a bumper festive season based on the latest figures from market research firm Kantar,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“Many of us were unable or unwilling to go out either because the highly transmissible Omicron variant meant we were isolating due to Covid or were in self-imposed isolation to avoid having our Christmas disrupted.”

“Money that might have been spent on eating out or drinking and socialising in pubs and bars instead looks to have found its way into the cash registers of the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, even if sales retreated slightly on record December 2020 levels. Tesco appears to have been the main winner as it grew its market share.”

“Online operator Ocado was the only grocer to grow its sales year-on-year, likely benefiting from progress on its joint venture with Marks & Spencer.”

“We should find out how this translates into financial performance when the supermarkets start updating the market themselves next week.”

Ocado shares were 5.25% higher at the time of writing shortly after midday in London. Tesco gained 0.7% to trade at 296p whilst Sainsbury’s added 0.79%.

Lloyds was another notable gainer as its broke through the 50p mark for the first time since late November. Barclays and Natwest were also higher on the day.

Uk banks have benefited from a surprise interest rate hike in December by the Bank of England.

Shares with defensive attributes were again among the fallers with Experian, Croda and National Grid among the FTSE 100’s worst performers.

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