Market Report: Is the City learning to love Tesco again?


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The Independent Online

Is the City learning to love Tesco again? The beleaguered supermarket rose 3.60p to 184.60p yesterday as another former critic said things are beginning to look up.

Bruno Monteyne, the former Tesco exec turned analyst at Bernstein, was the retailer’s harshest critic in the run up to and aftermath of its accounting scandal. He has since called the bottom for shares, but yesterday signalled that there could even be signs of a turnaround already.

Mr Monteyne backed Tesco’s strategy of halving the price of the key “festive five” vegetables and said recent store visits have revealed “better store standards, more staff and better availability”. Mr Monteyne’s sentiments echoed those of Shore Capital’s Clive Black last week, another former critic now softening as Dave Lewis’s reforms take shape.

In the US, the Dow Jones broke the 18,000 mark for the first time and the S&P 500 reached an all-time intraday high, thanks to a chunky upward revision of GDP. But the Footsie was left wallowing. Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: “After opening marginally down, the FTSE 100 struggled to recapture the magic of last week, as disappointing current account figures and a quarterly GDP that points to an overall retracement put to bed the FTSE 100’s notions of continuing the Santa rally.”

The FTSE 100 inched up 9.19 points to 6,584.93.

The saga of Bumi, the coal miner created by Nat Rothschild and Indonesia’s Bakrie family, continues. Bumi’s former chairman Samin Tan is trying to mount a boardroom coup at Asia Resource Minerals, the company created when Bumi split in two last year. Asia Resource Minerals slipped 0.45p to 4.75p.

Temporary power provider APR Energy tumbled 51.25p to 200p after warning that an already delayed contract in Libya could fall through.

City firm Henderson Global Investors almost doubled its stake in troubled Ukrainian energy company JKX Oil & Gas, up 0.38p at 12.13p. The company has been hit hard by the Ukrainian government’s tax hike on the gas industry and moves to boost state providers.