London’s blue chip benchmark closed Friday’s session 1.2% lower at 7,466.07 points, while the FTSE 250 finished almost 1% down at 21,643.3, rounding off a volatile week for markets as investors fretted over inflation and rising interest rates as well as the threat of conflict in Ukraine.

Despite higher yields, banking stocks dragged on the blue chip benchmark with HSBC (HSBA) off 1.9% at 528.3p, Barclays (BARC) marked down 3.3% to 197p and Lloyds (LLOY) 2% easier at 51.2p, possibly on profit-taking ahead of the Bank of England meeting next week.

CORPORATE NEWS

In corporate news, Cineworld (CINE) and Cineplex continued to intensify their legal battle after the latter filed a cross-appeal seeking award for alternative forms damages should Cineworld's appeal against an earlier ruling requiring it to pay C$1.24 billion in damages to Cineplex prove successful.

Marked down 4.8% to 37.6p, Cineworld said it would respond to the cross-appeal as part of the appeal process, and said it disagrees with Cineplex’s cross-appeal.

Today marked the final day that mining leviathan BHP (BHP) was listed in the FTSE 100 index, as its shares became incorporated in Australia.

In contrast to the negative sentiment, ITV (ITV) was in favour and moved 0.3% higher to 111.4p following an upgrade from Barclays from equalweight to overweight.

MOVING ON THE MARKET

Online grocery retailer Ocado (OCDO) cheapened 7.6% to £14.42 after a German court halted its case against Autostore.

Asset management giant Abrdn (ABDN) has sold just under 40 million shares in life insurance company Phoenix (PHNX) in placing to institutional investors, raising gross proceeds of around £264 million. The shares were sold at a price of 660p.

Abrdn said that it planned to keep hold of its remaining 10.4% shareholding in Phoenix, which gives the insurer the right to appoint a director to the Phoenix board.

Shares in Phoenix drifted 2.8% lower to 667.2p on the news.

Shares in Capita (CPI) fell 1.8% 31.8p after the outsourcer announced it had agreed to sell Trustmarque to One Equity Partners for £111 million.

The sale of Trustmarque, a provider IT services and solutions, marked another ‘step towards materially reducing our debt, as we continue to simplify and strengthen Capita’, the company said, adding that the £700 million disposals target set by June 2022 has now been met.

Europe’s largest recycling company Renewi (RWI) rose 1.1% to 664p after it delivered another strong quarter for the three months to December and announced a further ‘material upgrade’ to its outlook for the full year to March.

Energy infrastructure company Smart Metering Systems (SMS:AIM) has increased its pre-tax profit guidance for 2021 in a trading statement. SMS will report its detailed full year 2021 results on 15 March 2022. The shares sparked 2.3% higher to 751p on the news.

Shares in research and data analytics group YouGov (YOU:AIM) softened 3.25% to £11.90 despite upgrading its outlook. Full year results to 31 July 2022 were expected to be slightly ahead of the board’s expectations, the company said. Results for the six months ended 31 January 2022 will be announced on 22 March 2022.

In a positive AGM statement ingredients supplier Treatt (TET) said it had made a ‘good start’ to the year, but it expected profit to revert to a more normal second-half weighting reflecting the seasonality of beverage consumption in the Northern Hemisphere.

A move to larger facilities should mean far greater capacity for ‘enhanced efficiency and an emphasis on sustainability’, the company said. But the market was uninspired and the shares cheapened 2.3% to £10.85.

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Issue Date: 28 Jan 2022