FTSE 100 watch: Footsie little changed as retailers rise


Next shares rally as group lifts profit guidance

The UK benchmark index has been little changed in today’s trading, finding some support in retailers. The move higher came as Next (LON:NXT) kicked off the reporting season on an upbeat note, lifting its profit guidance.

FTSE 100 marginally up

As of 12:40 GMT, the Footsie had added 3.28 points to stand 0.04 percent higher at 7,651.38. Retailers have been in demand today, with Next leading other blue-chips higher after reporting that its sales had beat its guidance in the run-up to Christmas. As a result, the company has lifted its profit expectations for the current year. Next’s shares are currently changing hands 7.22 percent higher at 4,825.00p, while FTSE 100 peer Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS) is 1.23 percent up at 320.00p.

Analysts weigh in

“The Next share price rollercoaster continues,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, as quoted by Reuters. “Management’s update-by-update tinkering of guidance and sharp share price reactions only goes to reinforce how shareholders remain at the mercy of the UK consumer from one season to the next and exposed to short-termism.”

Citywire meanwhile quoted George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, as pointing out that Next's update was a “belated, but very welcome, Christmas present for investors across the retail sector”.

Outside the retailer sector, sentiment remains subdued with investors awaiting the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting later today, scheduled to be released after the UK market closes.

Mediclinic (LON:MDC) is currently the FTSE 100’s biggest faller in percentage terms, having given up 2.50 percent to 632.80p.

The FTSE 100 was 0.02 percent down at 7,646.46 points as of 13:08 GMT on Wednesday, 03 January 2018.