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FTSE back in the green as SSE shines

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The FTSE 100 moved back into the green on Wednesday, pushing to its highest point since early May.

After a small fall on Tuesday the index closed up 0.5% a day later, a rise of 38.4 points to 7,522.75, joining other European indexes that also posted comfortable gains.

It was driven up by energy company SSE, which bounced back from a torrid Tuesday after it showed that profits rose significantly in the year to March.

The business had been one of several whose shares were hit significantly on Tuesday after reports that the Government might extend a possible windfall tax to power companies, and not just the oil and gas sector.

But there were further indications on Wednesday that the windfall tax on power companies might not be part of the Government’s final package.

“Reports that a windfall tax would be too problematic to implement were also helping sentiment today, after yesterday’s falls with Centrica and Drax also higher,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“After yesterday’s modest falls, markets in Europe have had a more positive bias today, edging higher on a day with little in the way of drivers.

“The FTSE 100 has had a solid day, pushing up to its highest level since May 5, while the Dax hit its lowest levels this week before rebounding back into positive territory.”

The Dax closed up 0.6% while Paris’s Cac 40 rose 0.7%. In New York the Dow Jones was trading down 0.1% while the S&P 500 was up 0.2% shortly after European markets shut.

The pound could buy 1.254 dollars, a 0.03% drop, or 1.1765 euros, down 0.15%.

In company news, the long-term executive chairman of JD Sports will resign with immediate effect, the retailer said.

Peter Cowgill has held the position since 2004. His departure was announced 10 minutes before markets closed, but shares dropped rapidly after the statement was released.

They ended down 3%, also driven by a poor showing from US retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods, according to Mr Hewson.

Shares in Marks & Spencer rose 0.5% after the company said profits will start at a lower level this financial year because of the withdrawal from Russia and the end of the business rates holiday.

“Marks & Spencer’s shares initially dipped to their lowest levels since February 2021 after they outlined a challenging outlook for the year ahead,” Mr Hewson said.

“Their overall numbers were good, returning to annual profit, above expectations and revenues that were also ahead of expectations at £10.89 billion.

“They’ve since recovered that lost ground, edging back into positive territory this afternoon.”

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were SSE, up 101.5p to 1,867.5p, Rolls-Royce, up 3.44p to 83.52p, WPP, up 29.6p to 905.2p, Kingfisher, up 8.1p to 261.4p, and Imperial Brands, up 56.5p to 336.6p.

The biggest fallers were JD Sports, down 7.3p to 112p, Severn Trent, down 77.0p to 3,071p, Prudential, down 21.3p to 987.2p, United Utilities, down 23.0p to 1,112.5p, and Endeavour Mining, down 35.0p to 1,822p.

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