By Steve Goldstein
U.K. stocks struggled for direction on Thursday, one day after the FTSE 100 index’s biggest advance in close to three months.
The benchmark index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.03% was 0.2% up in late trading, after the 3.5% surge on Wednesday, when traders reacted to the news that Democrats would take control of the U.S. Senate, and therefore boosting the likelihood of further fiscal stimulus.
Savvas Savouri, chief economist at Toscafund Asset Management, said the U.K. should benefit from delayed household and corporate spending that will be unlocked now that there’s the certainty of a European Union trade deal . He estimates £200 billion over the next two years will be injected into the U.K. economy. Plus, there’s a 40% discount to worldwide equity markets, he said.
Of stocks on the move, U.K. supermarket chain J Sainsbury /zigman2/quotes/206038250/delayed UK:SBRY +0.75% gained 6.6% after reporting quarterly like-for-like sales excluding fuel up 9%.
Mitchells & Butler /zigman2/quotes/209008939/delayed UK:MAB -0.93% , the U.K. pub chain, dropped 4% after saying it might have to issue stock as like-for-like sales tumbled 30%.
FirstGroup /zigman2/quotes/202157466/delayed UK:FGP +0.53% shares rose 11% as Sky News reported EQT Infrastructure has put forward a $3.7 billion for its U.S. operations.