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Saturday, December 4, 2021
Stocks & Shares

FTSE 100 closes in the red

FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 finished 0.6% lower, while the FTSE 250 jumped nearly 0.5%

Leading UK stocks closed in the red on Thursday but it was a mixed day for investors that saw US market regulators suspend trading in hot stock GameStop, which had tripled this week. GameStop, or ‘GameStomp’, as Elon Musk called it, was one of a small number of stocks involved in an attack on hedge funds by retail investors associated with the Wallstreetbets Reddit group.

Also weighing on investor sentiment was the spat over vaccines involving AstraZeneca, the UK and the EU.

The benchmark FTSE 100 ended the day down 0.6%, bouncing off 6,445 morning lows to close at 6,526.15. The reversal was far stronger among mid-caps where the FTSE 250 recovered all of its morning declines to jump almost 0.5%, closing at 20,368.25.

In corporate news, alcoholic drinks giant Diageo rallied 3.2% to £29.45 as the Johnnie Walker-to-Smirnoff brands owner returned to organic sales growth in a forecast-beating first half and raised its dividend, even after operating profits declined amid pub and bar closures and unfavourable currency swings.

North America, its biggest market, performed ahead of management’s expectations and while Diageo isn’t providing specific guidance due to ongoing volatility, the spirits seller expects to see a second half improvement across regions given a weak comparator period.

Mining giant Anglo American was even stronger, ending the day 3.5% up £24.355 despite cutting its diamond production guidance for 2021 after reporting lower output for 2020 owing to ongoing operational challenges.

Investors were reassured as the miner maintained guidance on other commodities including iron ore, copper an coal and insisted it continues to see ‘positive demand for rough diamonds, supported by consumer demand for diamond jewellery in the holiday selling season’, in 2021 to date.

Silver and gold miner Fresnillo topped the FTSE 100 leaderboard with a 7% jump to 990.33p on firm precious metal pricing.

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