London’s FTSE 100 traded 0.39% higher at 7,218.19 points on Friday, the blue chip benchmark shrugging off weaker retail sales data amid easing China concerns following reports that cash-strapped property firm Evergrande will make a key interest payment at the weekend.

UK retail sales volumes fell 0.2% in September, bucking expectations for a monthly rise of 0.5%.

Overnight across the pond, the S&P 500 closed at a record high following a raft of positive earnings announcements, while shares in Elon Musk-steered Tesla accelerated to record levels after the electric car maker’s earnings beat expectations.

CORPORATE NEWS

Shares in London Stock Exchange (LSEG) softened 3.7% to £77.82 despite the bourse operator reporting 7.6% growth in third quarter total income and insisting it is ‘comfortably’ on-track to achieve £125 million of cost synergies in 2021 from the integration of data provider Refinitiv.

While London Stock Exchange maintained expectations for full year total income to grow between 4%-to-5%, it also warned fourth quarter income is not expected to grow as fast as that seen in the third quarter as the company laps last year’s strong Q4 comparator.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s (SBRY) slipped 1.1% lower to 293p after ending talks over the possible sale of Sainsbury’s Bank, arguing the potential offers didn’t offer value to shareholders.

Hotel chain InterContinental Hotels (IHG) cheapened 2% to £48.99 despite announcing that trading continued to improve ‘significantly’ in the third quarter, with revenue per available room or RevPAR recovering closer towards pre-pandemic levels as more and more guests returned to its hotels around the world.

The share price fall reflected trepidation that rising Covid case rates in some of the hotel giant’s markets may lead to renewed restrictions which could negatively affect performance.

SIG SKIPS AHEAD

Insulation and roofing company SIG (SHI) skipped 4.8% higher to 48.6p as the company upgraded its full year profit outlook after reporting a rise in third quarter sales driven by a strong performance in its UK distribution business.

Sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion (JD.) rose 2.1% to £10.62 after acquiring an 80% stake in Cosmos Sport, which operates 57 stores in Greece and three in Cyprus.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill insisted ‘this is another exciting acquisition for JD that further expands our presence in Europe’.

SMALL CAP WRAP

Touch sensors manufacturer Zytronic (ZYT:AIM) zipped 13.6% higher to 187.5p after the company said it expects to report a profit for the full year after delivering a ‘considerable’ turnaround with a return to profitability in the second half of the year.

Currency and derivatives manager Record (REC) sparked up 1.8% to 80p as a positive second quarter trading update confirmed modest growth in client numbers.

During the quarter, Record saw net inflows of US$600 million into its higher margin Dynamic Hedging product and the company also announced a collaboration with a new EU partner to develop an investment product focused on the German institutional market.

And virtual tumor technology tiddler Physiomics (PYC:AIM) firmed 2.5% to 6.25p on news it has won further contracts from existing client Merck that it expects to be completed by the end of this calendar year.

These projects involve simulations of clinical efficacy of drug products in Merck’s DNA damage and repair portfolio.

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Issue Date: 22 Oct 2021