The FTSE Finish Line: Middle East Tensions Leads Investor Retreat Into The Weekend

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On Friday, the UK stock market opened with a decline as concerns grew over the increasing tensions in the Middle East. The FTSE 100, which is focused on global markets, dropped initially by 0.4% before recovering inline with global risk sentiment, however, the blue chip index is still on course to marking its largest weekly decrease in three months. Travel and leisure stocks are at the forefront of the decline, dropping by 1.2% as airlines worked to reroute flights away from Iran due to escalating tensions in the Middle East. Additionally, retail data for March indicated a stagnation in sales, retailers faced significant losses following the report. The data revealed that sales remained unchanged in March compared to February, falling short of market expectations for a 0.3% increase. JD Sports Fashion, B&M European Value Retail, Marks and Spencer Group, and Kingfisher PLCall experienced declines between 2-3% in response to the news.

DS Smith's stock takes a hit as Mondi withdraws from the bidding competition. Shares of the UK's DS Smith plummeted after its peer Mondi decided to walk away from the offer to acquire the packaging firm. Earlier this month, SMDS agreed to a 5.8 billion pound ($7.21 billion) deal with International Paper. SMDS shares dropped by more than 10% to 358p, marking the biggest one-day decrease since February 2022, making it the top loser on London's blue-chip index. On the other hand, MNDI saw an increase of nearly 10% , making it the top gainer on the FTSE100. Mondi stated that the deal "would not be in the best interests of its shareholders." As of the last close, SMDS shares have increased by about 22% in the last 12 months. 

The catering company Compass saw a significant increase in its stock value following positive first-half results from its French counterpart Sodexo.

Thames Water is seeking to raise consumer bills by 56% over the next five years in order to survive. The crisis-hit water provider in London has submitted new plans to regulator Ofwat, proposing the increase. This comes after a previous attempt to raise bills by 40%. The company, burdened by debt, is trying to avoid collapse and potential nationalisation. Under the proposed plan, bondholders could also see the value of their loans reduced by up to 40%.

FTSE Bias: Bullish Above Bearish below 7900

  • Below 7770 opens 7700
  • Primary support 7775
  • Primary objective 8059
  • 5 Day VWAP bearish
  • 20 Day VWAP bullish

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