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On Wednesday, the FTSE 100 continued its poor performance so far in 2024, edging lower by 0.25%. The blue chip index was led lower by Sainsbury’s sitting at the bottom of the FTSE 100 due to a lack of profit view upgrade. The shares of the second-biggest supermarket group in Britain, Sainsbury’s, have dropped by 4.8%, making it the top loser on London’s FTSE 100 index. Despite reporting a 7.4% rise in underlying sales for the key Christmas quarter, the company has chosen to maintain its FY profit guidance. In addition, peers Marks and Spencer’s and Tesco have also experienced drops in their stock prices. Despite a 16% increase since the half-year results on November 2, 2023, the stock hit a more than two-year high earlier this week following industry data that highlighted Sainsbury’s and Tesco as the biggest winners among British supermarkets during Christmas. Weighing further on the broader index was Admiral, the Insurer was under pressure due to worries about a possible crackdown on premium financing. Investors voted with their feet in response to a report in the Insurance Post that cited the head of insurance at the Financial Conduct Authority stating that premium finance was not a good product.On the positive side of the ledger Berkeley (2.3%) and Barratt Developments (1.62%) saw an increase in their stock value as Persimmon, a company in the FTSE 250, exceeded expectations for new home completions in 2023 following a strong fourth quarter. The company also reported a strong start to 2024 with higher private forward sales compared to the previous year. Despite challenging market conditions and a significant impact from rising mortgage rates, new home completions totaled 9,922 in 2023, surpassing the target of 9,500 set in November 2023. Intertek also had a strong session (+1.8%) vying for the top spot in the blue chip index, the rise in its stock value came after RBC Capital Markets raised its rating from ‘sector perform’ to ‘outperform’ and raised the price target to 4,700p from 3,900p. This makes the company the top choice in the testing, inspection, and certification industry.
FTSE Bias: Bullish Above Bearish below 7600