FTSE 100 Live March 17: Stocks rise as Wall Street lenders back First Republic


Bodycote outperforms FTSE 250 as profits increase and all additional energy costs are recouped

Shares in engineering firm Bodycote made the best gains on the FTSE 250 after it allayed concerns about the profitability of major energy consumers, reported rising profits and covered rising costs in 2022.

The Cheshire-based company offers heat treatments that strengthen a range of industrial components, including turbine blades in jet engines. It said today that labor and general cost inflation has “fully recovered” and it has “fully recovered energy cost inflation” in the second half of the year. That was a turnaround after a “£5m shortfall” in the first half.

Chief executive Stephen Harris called it “a major achievement” to use surcharges to cover the impact of rising energy costs, with permanent price increases for other forms of inflation.

“While there are near-term macroeconomic uncertainties, we expect underlying volume to grow faster than background markets, and margins are expected to increase as surcharges moderate,” he said.

For the whole of 2022, Bodycote’s turnover rose by more than a fifth to almost £744 million, while its total operating profit for the year also rose by a fifth to more than £112 million.

The stock rose 29p to 610p, up nearly 5%.


Mining and oil stocks up, BT down 3%

Heavily sold BP and Shell tempted investors today at the end of a week in which banking turmoil pushed oil prices to levels not seen in more than a year.

The heavyweight pair rose 4% on hopes that support for Credit Suisse and US-based lender First Republic Bank was enough to protect the economic outlook.

Shell added 81.5 pence to 2290.5 pence and BP increased 18.75 pence to 501.2 pence, but both stocks remain about 7% lower over the past week after Brent Crude prices previously fell below for the first time since December 2021 the $75 a barrel fell.

Mining companies were also up sharply today, with Anglo American and Rio Tinto both up 2% and Glencore up 3% or 12.5p at 435.7p after the commodities trader benefited from Deutsche Bank’s repeated price target of 575p.

Momentum for commodity stocks helped the FTSE 100 index improve 0.8% or 61.97 points to 7472, still some 3.5% off where the top flight started the week. The FTSE 250 index improved by 64.92 points to 18,823.50.

Other gainers today included the London Stock Exchange, which rose 112p to 7438p after analysts at UBS raised their price target to 8700p after recent full-year results.

The bank is confident that the market infrastructure and data provider will be able to raise its revenue growth outlook to 6-8%, in line with US-based information services companies.

UBS added: “Given the company’s improved reporting following the 2022 results, we view LSEG’s risk-return profile as highly favorable at current valuations.”

Among other broker recommendations, GSK rose 23.6p to 1410.6p after analysts at Deutsche Bank switched to a “buy” recommendation and target of 1700p.

The blue-chip fallers board was led by BT Group, which fell 3% or 4.9p to 141.75p after Ofcom delayed a decision on new price fixing proposed by the company’s Openreach arm.

The new terms for fiber services were due to come into effect on April 1, but Ofcom said it needs a few more months after a number of “detailed and comprehensive responses” to its consultation.


Miners Lead FTSE 100 Higher, Bodycote Up 7%

Mining stocks lead a stronger session for the FTSE 100 index, rising over 1% or 88.80 points to 7498.83.

Shares in Glencore, Anglo American and Antofagasta are up more than 2%, while stronger Brent crude oil prices rallied BP and Shell by 11.6 pence to 494.05 pence and 59.5 pence to 2268.5 pence respectively. has increased.

London Stock Exchange shares are up 182p at 7508p after UBS raised its price target to 8700p, with GSK rising 24.8p to 1411.8 thanks to analysts at Deutsche Bank switching to a “buy” recommendation and target of 1700p.

Bank shares rose at the end of a turbulent week as Barclays and HSBC both traded 2% higher. BT Group led the Fallers board, falling 1% or 1.75p to 144.9p after regulator Ofcom delayed a decision on full fiber pricing.

The FTSE 250 index rose 0.5% or 102.20 points to 18,860.78, led by Bodycote after the heat treatment specialist’s annual results led to a 7% or 38p increase to 619.5p.


FTSE 100 saw higher as Asian markets recovered

The FTSE 100 index is about to open higher, with the IG Index futures expecting an increase of about 0.7% or 54 points to 7462.

However, that level would still represent a 3.7% decline in the week to date as investors took cover from the turmoil in the banking sector.

Support for Credit Suisse and First Republic Bank has helped calm the mood over the past two sessions, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and other markets in Asia up 1.2% and other markets in Asia trading higher this morning.


CMA warns UnitedHealth’s £1.2bn EMIS deal would be bad for the NHS

The competition watchdog has said the £1.2 billion merger between health tech companies UnitedHealth and EMIS would be bad for the NHS.

The Competition and Markets Authority said outcomes for patients could be worse and increase taxpayer costs related to limited access to patient data held by the companies.

UnitedHealth and EMIS have 5 business days to make legally binding proposals to the CMA to address the concerns identified.

Sorcha O’Carroll, Senior Mergers Director at the CMA, said: “The NHS and the millions of patients under its care depend on critical behind-the-scenes technology to ensure people are cared for and receive the treatment they need to get better.

“This deal allows the NHS to miss out on the benefits of competition, including innovation in these products and services and better value for money. UnitedHealth has the option to address our concerns or it will proceed to a more in-depth investigation.”


Brent crude stabilizes at the end of a turbulent week

Brent crude futures are slightly higher today at just over $75 a barrel, following a sharp drop this week on fears the banking crisis will lead to a sharper economic downturn.

The benchmark is down about 9% this week, placing it at its lowest point since the end of 2021 and well below the $100 per barrel mark for most of last summer.

Shares in BP and Shell, whose recent record returns were driven by the rise in prices, are down more than 11% over the past week.


First Republic support calms Wall Street

Concerns over First Republic Bank’s position were allayed last night when a consortium of Wall Street banks stepped in with support worth $30bn (£24.7bn).

The private bank and asset manager received uninsured deposits from lenders including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Executive Chairman Jim Herbert said, “Their collective support strengthens our liquidity position, reflects the continued quality of our business and is a vote of confidence for First Republic and the entire U.S. banking system.”

The move follows volatility for trading in First Republic’s shares, which have lost more than 50% of their value in the past week. They finished up 10% last night as Wall Street stocks staged a relief rally, with the S&P 500 index up 1.7%.

First Republic said it was now focusing on reducing its borrowings and evaluating the composition and size of its balance sheet. It has also suspended its dividend.

Leave a comment