Morrisons figures lift retail shares

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Last Updated at 04 Sep 2017, 11:23 GMT *Chart shows local time FTSE 100 intraday chart
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(Close): Supermarket shares were full of beans after a well-received trading update from Morrisons.

Shares in Morrisons closed up 6% after it maintained its full-year profit outlook and showed signs of improvement. The move came on top of Wednesday's 6% rise.

Quarterly sales fell 6.3%, better than the 7.4% drop of the last six months.

The news lifted shares in other supermarkets, with Sainsbury's up 6% and Tesco 3.3% higher.

Shares in Marks and Spencer climbed a further 6%, with the High Street giant benefiting from a number of broker upgrades a day after its half-year results beat expectations.

The strength in the retail sector helped to prop up FTSE 100, with the index closing 12 points higher at 6551.15.

The index had fallen earlier because of a number of companies going ex-dividend - trading without the right to their latest shareholder payout - including GlaxoSmithKline and BP.

Bank shares fell after the Competition and Markets Authority announced an inquiry into the markets for personal current accounts and small business banking.

Shares in Lloyds Banking Group fell 1% and Barclays was down 0.7%. New joiner TSB was worst hit, falling 2%.

The Bank of England's regular policy statement left interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, as expected.

The pound held up well as the ECB appeared to point to more action on policy stimulation in the future, even full quantitative easing.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.7% against the dollar to $1.5863 and dropped 0.13% against the euro to €1.2779.