FTSE 100 watch: Footsie extends gains as investor sentiment remains upbeat

Marks & Spencer shares sold off amid reports of store closure plans

FTSE 100 watch: Footsie extends gains as investor sentiment remains upbeat

The UK benchmark index has climbed marginally into positive territory, building on the previous session’s gains, amid improved sentiment toward riskier assets. Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS) meanwhile has tumbled near the bottom of the FTSE 100 leaderboard as it unveiled plans to close down more stores as it continues with its transformation plans under chief executive Steve Rowe.

FTSE 100 inches higher

As of 12:41 BST, the Footsie had added 10.23 points to stand 0.13 percent higher at 7,869.40. The blue-chip index has extended the previous session’s record gains, as investors sentiment remains upbeat following an easing of tensions between the US and China.

“The FTSE benefits from a smooth [...] trade outlook between the United States and China,” Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, told Reuters. “Its components are middlemen between these two major powers: the mining companies, the multinationals and others, they really rely on [...] smooth trade relations to operate at an optimum.”

Silver miner Fresnillo (LON:FRES) is currently leading the resources sector higher, having gained 3.94 percent to 1,320.00p.

M&S shares down

In individual movers, shares in Marks & Spencer have lost ground after the blue-chip retailer announced the next tranche of UK stores proposed for closure, noting that it would now close over 100 stores in total by 2022, including 21 which have already closed and 14 stores announced today. The update comes ahead of the group’s full-year results tomorrow. The retailer’s shares are currently changing hands 0.23 percent lower at 293.70p. Blue-chip peer Next (LON:NXT) meanwhile is 0.75 percent down at 5,830.00p.

The FTSE 100 was 0.15 percent up at 7,871.33 points as of 12:53 BST on Tuesday, 22 May 2018.

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