(Sharecast News) – London stocks were still firmly in the black by midday on Friday as investors mulled upbeat UK growth data.
The FTSE 100 was 0.8% firmer at 7,663.14, while sterling was up 0.5% against the dollar at 1.2269 after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the economy grew more than initially estimated in the first quarter.
GDP rose by 0.3% between January and March, up from the 0.1% growth previously estimated. This means that GDP is now estimated to be 1.8% above pre- pandemic 2019 levels.
GDP growth for 2022 as a whole was also revised up, to 4.3% from a first estimate of 4.1%, while second-quarter growth was unrevised at 0.2%.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “While the UK economy bounced back from the pandemic at a faster rate than previously expected, it is important to remember these figures are backwards looking. The market is more interested about what might happen next.
“The economy is expected to be sluggish going into 2024, particularly if inflation remains sticky and interest rates stay higher for longer. However, markets have been worried about a recession so positive revisions to GDP estimates, even small ones, give hope that we could avoid the economy going into a big downturn.
“This shift in sentiment provided support to UK stocks, with retailers, engineers and housebuilders among the sectors in demand. The key question is how long this positive momentum can last.
“While the Bank of England might have finished its rate-rise cycle, it feels too early to be talking about a rate cut, particularly if the economy is showing signs of resilience. And without confidence over a rate cut, many stocks might end up trading sideways.”
In equity markets, Severn Trent was the standout performer on the FTSE 100 after saying it was seeking to raise £1bn for a transformation plan expected to create 7,000 jobs across the Midlands.
JD Sports shot higher following well-received first-quarter results from Nike across the pond.
Specialist media firm Future surged as it held annual earnings guidance despite volatile markets, but warned that trading conditions remain mixed.
Aston Martin racked up strong gains after it said chairman Lawrence Stroll’s Yew Tree Consortium had upped its stake in the company by 3.27% to 26.23%.
Ascential popped higher following a report that buyout firm Apax Partners is in talks to buy its consumer data business, WGSN.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,663.14 0.81%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,291.77 1.07%
techMARK (TASX) 4,350.61 0.82%
FTSE 100 – Risers
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,382.00p 5.17%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 149.60p 4.73%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 607.60p 4.58%
Croda International (CRDA) 4,894.00p 3.86%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 944.00p 3.62%
Glencore (GLEN) 472.30p 2.45%
Haleon (HLN) 340.90p 2.34%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,131.00p 2.28%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 587.60p 2.23%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,609.00p 2.09%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 4,583.00p -0.89%
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 13,440.00p -0.85%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 77.12p -0.81%
BAE Systems (BA.) 1,013.50p -0.49%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 472.70p -0.46%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,044.00p -0.36%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 220.80p -0.32%
BP (BP.) 539.50p -0.30%
Shell (SHEL) 2,654.50p -0.23%
GSK (GSK) 1,492.20p -0.12%
FTSE 250 – Risers
Future (FUTR) 865.00p 21.06%
Digital 9 Infrastructure NPV (DGI9) 37.75p 12.69%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 294.00p 12.64%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 113.40p 6.78%
Coats Group (COA) 74.70p 5.06%
NCC Group (NCC) 116.60p 4.86%
Ascential (ASCL) 207.40p 4.85%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 122.40p 3.90%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 145.60p 3.85%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 175.90p 3.78%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
Ceres Power Holdings (CWR) 318.20p -2.63%
SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust (SEIT) 67.70p -2.59%
IntegraFin Holding (IHP) 234.40p -1.68%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 580.50p -1.36%
The Renewables Infrastructure Group Limited (TRIG) 106.40p -1.30%
Abrdn Private Equity Opportunities Trust (APEO) 442.00p -1.12%
Ruffer Investment Company Ltd Red PTG Pref Shares (RICA) 267.00p -1.11%
North Atlantic Smaller Companies Inv Trust (NAS) 3,560.00p -1.11%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 145.00p -1.09%
Keller Group (KLR) 748.00p -1.06%