Gamblers lead FTSE in slight gain as it lags European peers

Frankfurt’s Dax index rose 0.83% while the Cac 40 in Paris closed up 1.13%.

August Graham
Thursday 18 January 2024 17:23 GMT
Share prices rose in the City on Thursday (Victoria Jones/PA)
Share prices rose in the City on Thursday (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

Investors hoping for London’s shares to bounce back from a rout on Wednesday were left disappointed as the index fell behind the wins of European rivals.

The FTSE 100 rose 12.8 points, or 0.17%, to end the day at 7,459.09.

The index’s rise was led by the gambling companies as Flutter soared following its final shareholder update before it lists in New York.

Despite reporting results in line with expectations and slight weakness in the US due to customers winning on NFL games, shares closed up 15.34%.

But the rise in the gambling shares – Entain was up 6.12% – was partly offset elsewhere on the index.

By the end of the day, energy companies Centrica and National Grid were lingering towards the bottom of the FTSE, joined by retailers such as Tesco and B&M.

“We’ve seen a modest stabilisation in European markets after the losses of yesterday, with the FTSE 100 lagging the rest of Europe with modest weakness in utilities and consumer staples acting as a drag on the UK blue-chip index,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

At the close of trading in Europe, Frankfurt’s Dax index rose 0.83% while the Cac 40 in Paris closed up 1.13%.

In New York a little while after markets had closed in Europe, the S&P 500 had gained 0.24% while the Dow Jones was 0.23% lower.

On currency markets, the pound had gained 0.02% against the dollar at 1.2679 and had risen 0.29% against the euro at 1.1682.

London was packed with company news on Thursday, with Royal Mail and Sainsbury’s leading the way.

Shares in the delivery company’s parent International Distributions Services rose 0.60% after it said that Royal Mail had its best Christmas in four years, with parcel revenues up 14.4% and the group said it would meet its guidance for the year.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s said that it was going to wind down Sainsbury’s Bank, which has nearly two million customers.

The firm said that it was planning a “phased withdrawal” but did not reveal when it planned to get out of the banking business.

Shares in the company closed down 0.74%.

Elsewhere, Watches of Switzerland saw its shares plunge by 36.2% after saying that it does not expect customer demand to rebound after a tough Christmas period. It slashed revenue growth projections by three quarters.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Flutter Entertainment, up 2,025p to 15,225p, Entain, up 54.8p to 949.6p, Rolls-Royce, up 9.9p to 306.5p, St James’s Place, up 17p to 637.2p, and Intercontinental Hotels Group, up 166p to 7,344p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were B&M European, down 18.2p to 524.8p, Admiral Group, down 60p to 2,501p, Centrica, down 3.2p to 139.7p, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, down 39p to 1,926p, and Smurfit Kappa, down 54p to 2,922p.

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