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FTSE shines despite rising pound

The index closed the day up more than 1.3%.

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Sterling rose against both the euro and the dollar on Tuesday (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sterling rose against both the euro and the dollar on Tuesday (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Sterling rose against both the euro and the dollar on Tuesday (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

London’s top index steamed to a strong showing on Tuesday, beating off downwards pressure from a rising pound and defying a more dampened mood on the continent.

The FTSE 100 jumped 1.3%, ending the day at 6,105.54 points, a rise of 79.29.

The index was buoyed by a rally late in the day, pushed up as the pound lost some of its gains earlier in the day.

It conspired to send the index to its highest point since August 25, despite a report in the morning which showed 695,000 jobs fell off UK payrolls since the pandemic began.

Investors clearly weren’t interested in the troubling longer-term outlook for the UK jobs market, instead focusing on the short-term beats in the morning’s latest reportConnor Campbell, Spreadex

The optimism was largely driven by Ocado, whose shares rose to their highest point ever as it said that Marks & Spencer products are proving far more popular than its old partnership with Waitrose.

“The lockdown-favourite deemed its Marks & Spencer switchover ‘successful’, with a 50% surge in third-quarter sales and a 10% rise in weekly orders,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

“Better positioned for a pandemic than any of its bricks and mortar peers, the stock jumped 8%, effectively returning it to the £25.50 levels it fell from at the start of the month,” Mr Campbell said a little before markets closed.

Just an hour after he spoke, the company had breached £26 per share, hitting a daily rise of nearly 11%.

This meant that, despite the pound rising 0.5% against both the dollar and the euro, to 1.2863 and 1.0855, the FTSE rose above 6,100 for the first time in three weeks.

Mr Campbell added: “Investors clearly weren’t interested in the troubling longer-term outlook for the UK jobs market, instead focusing on the short-term beats in the morning’s latest report.”

The FTSE outperformed rivals in France, with the Cac up 0.3%, and Germany – the Dax rose 0.2% – and even beat its more upbeat US rivals, with the S&P 500 up 0.9% and the Dow Jones rising 0.4%.

A significant, but non-fatal revolt from shareholders at FirstGroup’s shareholder meeting was not enough to reverse a strong share price showing, as the company ended the day up 3.4% on the news that it would make a “small adjusted operating profit” this financial year.

Barratt Developments shares rose by 0.2% on the day it was revealed that chief executive David Thomas’s pay package dropped by more than two thirds for the last financial year.

Eve Sleep investors would have preferred not to wake up as the value of their shares dropped more than 11% as it reported poor sales even as people turned to home improvements during lockdown.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 253p to 2,608p, Smurfit Kappa, up 148p to 3,068p, Flutter Entertainment, up 590p to 12,390p, RSA, up 22p to 492p, and M&G, up 6.55p to 157.75p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Kingfisher, down 10.9p to 273.5p, Rolls-Royce, down 7p to 203.3p, Avast, down 12p to 529p, Whitbread, down 33p to 2,259p, and Informa, down 5.7p to 397.9p.

PA