London’s FTSE 100 ended flat, dragged by weakness in banks and energy stocks, and posted a weekly loss pressured by concerns over surging COVID infections in the UK. After gaining as much as 0.52%, the blue-chip index FTSE 100 ended 0.03% lower. And this is with banks being the biggest drag.
Energy stocks fell 0.8% with oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell down 1.0% and 0.8%, respectively, tracking weaker crude. Miners jumped 0.9% and were the top gainers. Homebuilders gained 0.3%. Jefferies maintained its upbeat stance on UK homebuilders, lifting Barratt Developments and Bellway to “buy” from “hold”. Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said that the housebuilding sector remains a firm favorite with investors. This is despite the stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland starting to be tapered. Fundamentally, there is still a major shortage of homes in the UK, so perhaps investors are taking the view that housebuilders will be able to easily sell every property they construct.
So far this year, the FTSE 100 has gained nearly 10%. But has been largely range-bound over the previous quarter. This is because of the concerns over a jump in coronavirus infections clouded investor judgment. The domestically focused mid-cap index added 0.6%. The London Stock Exchange Group gained 0.2%. And after the exchange said it is in a strong financial position. After market hours, JD Sports Fashion said its remuneration committee’s chair would leave the board. And this is following a shareholder rebellion over management pay at Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer.