Markets

Top flight takes off as Tesco shares soar

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed sales at Tesco had grown at their fastest rate for three years
Ben Woods

LONDON'S top-flight index bagged gains yesterday after Tesco's shares soared on the back of strong sales.

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 39.56 to 6,792.74, as closely-watched figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed sales at Tesco had grown at their fastest rate for three years.

Shares in the supermarket giant were up more than 5 per cent, or 11.2p to 217p, after sales jumped 2.2 per cent in the quarter to November 6, with overall sales climbing 0.8 per cent year-on-year for the second month on the bounce.

Rival Big Four grocer Morrisons was also in the ascendancy, rising 4 per cent or 9.3p to 221.9, despite total sales falling 2.4 per cent over the period.

Across Europe, Germany's Dax rose 0.4 per cent and the Cac 40 in France was 0.6 per cent higher.

On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.5 per cent against the US dollar at 1.242 and 0.4 per cent lower versus the euro at 1.157.

Sterling saw its gains trimmed against the US dollar after the greenback strengthened on the back of better-than-expected retail figures from across the Atlantic.

US retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in October, with economists expecting 0.6 per cent.

The pound was also under pressure after an unexpected slip in UK inflation to 0.9 per cent in October, down from one per cent in September.

The ONS said there was ''no clear evidence'' that the plunge in the value of the pound since the EU referendum result was bumping up shop prices.

However, there were signs that the currency fall was ramping up costs for manufacturers, with the Producer Prices Index (PPI) showing total input prices rising 12.2 per cent in October, compared to a 7.3 per cent rise in September.

Meanwhile, the bond market rout paused following a sell-off in the previous session when investors priced in a rise in US inflation following Donald Trump's surprise US presidential election victory.

The price of oil soared more than 4 per cent amid mounting confidence that the Opec cartel will hammer out a deal to slash output at a key meeting in Vienna on November 30.

Brent crude soared US$1.81 to US$46.24 a barrel.

In UK stocks, low-cost carrier easyJet was one of the biggest risers after saying that it would continue to expand next year despite seeing profits nosedive by 28 per cent.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said it had been a year of ''significant challenges'' after a combination of terror attacks across Europe, Egypt and Tunisia, air traffic control strikes in France, political turmoil in Turkey, as well as intense competition in the sector.

The group posted a 27.9 per cent tumble in pre-tax profits to £495 million for the year to September 30, after the sharply weaker pound cost it £88m and it suffered a blow of around £150m from ''unprecedented'' events.

Shares were up more than 5 per cent, or 55p to 1,087p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Hikma Pharmaceuticals up 99p to 1,723p, Tesco up 11.2p to 217p, easyJet up 55p to 1087p, Morrisons up 9.3p to 221.9p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 Index were Anglo American down 78.5p to 1,096.5p, Glencore down 15.4p to 267.4p, Antofagasta down 35p to 671p, BHP Billiton down 65p to 1,271.5p.

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