MARKET WRAP: FTSE ends the week on positive note, GBP soft, oil continues to fall

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imageEconomy9 hours ago (Aug 20, 2021 16:37)

© Reuters.

Key Points

  • FTSE 100 closing price of 7088, +0.4%
  • M&S, Morrisons lead retail stocks higher
  • GBP soft following weak retail sales
  • Oil remains on back foot
  • Bitcoin rallies after break back above 200DMA

By Samuel Indyk – The FTSE 100 ended the week on a positive note, although still finished 1.8% lower on the week as the Fed Minutes suggested they will begin tapering asset purchases by the end of the year.

The retail sector was in focus on Friday. Marks and Spencer (LON:MKS) led the way higher after the company lifted its profit guidance following a strong performance in recent months, that the retailer thinks is down to more than just pent-up consumer demand.

Another retailer that was trading higher was Morrisons (LON:MRW). The UK supermarket chain saw its shares jump after agreeing to a takeover by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CDR). The CDR offer trumps the previously accepted bid from Fortress, who now said they are considering their options. The market appears to be expecting a competing bid to be forthcoming as Morrisons closed above the CDR offer price of 285 pence per share.

On a macro level, UK retail sales disappointed in July, falling 2.5% versus expectations of a 0.4% increase. The ONS cited wet weather and a full reopening of hospitality, which dented food sales, for the unexpected decline.

“The miserable weather kept a lid on everything from BBQs at home to road-trips and shopping for a holiday wardrobe,” said Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HRGV) personal finance analyst Sarah Coles. “Meanwhile, efforts to entertain ourselves with new technology at home were stymied by shortages.”

The soft data weighed on GBP with GBP/USD dropping towards 1.36 before finding support ahead of the figure. The USD took a bit of a breather but remained near multi-month highs following this week’s Fed minutes.

WTI and Brent crude futures continued their miserable week, falling for the fifth consecutive day amid fears that rising Covid cases in Asia and the US will hamper oil demand in the coming months. Focus will turn to the Baker Hughes US Oil Rig Count due at 18:00BST after drillers added the most oil rigs in a week since April last week.

Cryptocurrencies were strong with all the major coins posting solid gains. There was no single catalyst for the gains but Bitcoin once again crossed the 200-day moving average to the upside and never looked back.

Cardano continues to outperform ahead of the Alonzo Purple upgrade next month. The upgrade will enable smart contracts on the network. Cardano is now the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap after a 25% rally in the latest week.


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MARKET WRAP: FTSE ends the week on positive note, GBP soft, oil continues to fall

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