Market update - 21 April

The FTSE 100 was 30.57 points weaker at 3960.29 while the FTSE 250 lost 21.38 points to 6995.3 at around 12.27pm.

Insurance issues underperformed, amid concern about the possible scrapping of higher rate tax relief on pension contributions in the Budget, which is due to be unveiled tomorrow. Merrill Lynch said the move was likely to prove a negative for the likes of Standard Life, down 2.6 per cent or 4.8 at 182.1p, and Old Mutual, down 4.2 per cent or 2.5p at 57.3p, as its may lessen the attractiveness of pensions versus non-pensions savings.



“By limiting the tax relief to the basic rate, the tax break on new pension contributions for higher rate tax payers would effectively be halved – a higher rate tax payer currently effectively pays £60 for every £100 invested in a pension plan; this cost could rise to £80 if higher rate tax relief was scrapped,” the broker said,

“Given the bias to pensions and higher rate tax payers, we see St. James Place, Standard Life and Old Mutual (through Skandia) as potentially the most affected by the changes. Aviva, Legal & General and Friends Provident would also be affected, although we suspect these companies have less exposure to higher rate tax payers. Prudential writes very little pensions business in the UK.”



Moving up



Retailers were firm, thanks to positive results from Tesco, which posted annual revenues of more than £1bn a week, and Associated British Foods, the owner of Primark, which beat analyst forecasts with a first half earnings report.



Tesco itself was 4.5 per cent or 14.8p stronger at 346.9p and AB Foods gained 5.6 per cent or 36.5p to 690.5p, while Home Retail Group, which owns the Argos and Homebase stores, climbed to 251.5p, up 0.5p, and J Sainsbury advanced to 308.75p, up 2.5p.



Moving down



Miners remained weak as metals prices, which began to slacken at the beginning of the week, continued to slide. Xstrata, which was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” at Exane BNP Paribas, was amongst the weakest, losing 5 per cent or 26.5p to 498p, while Antofagasta lost 12p to 519.5p and BHP Billiton eased by 23p to 1320p.



Banks, undermined by the bleak outlook for bad debts in the previous session, were also lodged in the doldrums, with Standard Chartered falling to 910p, down 32.5p, and Barclays losing 8.25p to 200.75p.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: PR, Marketing & Events Executive - Southwark, London - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: PR Marketing & Events Exe...

Selby Jennings: C++ Developer – Hedge Fund – New York

$80000 - $110000 per annum, Benefits: Bonus and Employee Investment Scheme: Se...

Selby Jennings: Java Developer Enterprise Specialist –Paris,France

€30000 - €50000 per annum, Benefits: Competitive Bonus: Selby Jennings: Java D...

Selby Jennings: QA Engineer Lead – Hedge Fund – Chicago

$60000 - $90000 per annum, Benefits: Competitive Bonus and Employee Investment ...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible