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Friday, January 21, 2022

Britain’s FTSE edges higher as StanChart shares jump

Britain's FTSE edges higher as StanChart shares jumpLONDON: Britain’s top share index was the only major European index which traded higher on Wednesday, lifted by gains in Standard Chartered and oil majors.

Standard Chartered rose 6.7 percent, the top FTSE 100 riser, lifted by positive broker comment. Barclays welcomed the appointment of former JP Morgan investment bank boss Bill Winters, announced last month, lifting its rating on the stock to “overweight” from “equal weight”.

“We expect the appointment of a new CEO to mark a turning point for Standard Chartered and see plenty of scope for the business to be refocused with a material improvement in returns,” analysts at Barclays said in a note.

Volume on Standard Chartered shares was nearly equal to its full-day average for the past 90 days by 1122 GMT, compared with less than a third on the broader index.

Trade overall was expected to remain quiet ahead of the British budget statement, due around 1230 GMT.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 42 points, or 0.6 percent, at 6,879.62, with Standard Chartered contributing nearly 5 points of the advance.

Germany’s Dax, France’s CAC and Italy’s FTSE MIB were down by between 0.4 percent and 1.1 percent.

The FTSE is up 2.8 percent from last week’s low, leaving it just 1.3 percent off an all time high set on March 2.

OIL STOCKS

Shell and BP added a further 11 points as oil shares extended Tuesday’s rebound, fuelled by speculation they would benefit by a North Sea fiscal change in the budget.

Finance minister George Osborne is also expected to extend pension reforms, crack down on tax avoidance and cut duty on beer.

“We’re looking for some tax breaks in the oil & gas sector that will allow more investment to start again in the North Sea,” Atif Latif, director of trading at Guardian Stockbrokers, said. “Given the current performance of the oil market this will be a positive for the sector.”

Oil stocks have been among the poorest performers in the FTSE 100 this year, with Tullow Oil down around 30 percent and due to leave the blue-chip index next week.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

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