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March 17, 2020, 12:38 p.m. EDT

FTSE 100 closes higher in volatile session as market struggles to price in virus outlook

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch


AFP/Getty Images
A sign for Just Eat, a food delivery service can be seen above a restaurant in London

It was another volatile day for U.K. stocks on Tuesday, as equities gyrated on how to correctly price in the impact on the economy from the raging coronavirus.

The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.20%   ended a roller-coaster day with a gain of 2.6% to 5,283.12.

“In the absence of any game-changing policy interventions, market sentiment looks set to remain hostage to perceptions of global trends in the coronavirus infection rate,” said Paul O’Connor, head of multi-asset at Janus Henderson Investors. “With so much pessimism now embedded in asset prices, we believe that gradually rebuilding market exposures into dips will be rewarded in all but the most adverse coronavirus outcomes. We approach these turbulent markets cautiously and probabilistically, but optimistically.”

The market was rewarding and punishing the typical coronavirus plays. Ocado Group /zigman2/quotes/207225647/delayed UK:OCDO 0.00%  , the supermarket-delivery firm, and Just Eat Takeaway.com /zigman2/quotes/216303066/delayed UK:JET -0.83%  , which delivers for restaurants and also received an upgrade to buy from hold from Jefferies, each rose over 10%. Household products maker Reckitt Benckiser   was another advancer.

TUI /zigman2/quotes/207049334/delayed UK:TUI -0.45%  , the travel operator that has halted most of its operations, slumped 11%, and sporting-goods retailer JD Sports Fashion /zigman2/quotes/207007202/delayed UK:JD +0.71%   fell 18%.

Catering firm Compass Group /zigman2/quotes/200043088/delayed UK:CPG -0.67%  fell 7% after saying its half-year operating profit will be £125 million to £225 million lower than expected due to the virus impacting its business.

Copper miner Antofagasta /zigman2/quotes/200173667/delayed UK:ANTO +0.39%  surged 10% however after saying its operations have not been impacted by the virus. It did cut its final dividend however.

“This still represents a generous total payout ratio of 67% (2018: 65%), and remains significantly above ANTO’s policy of paying out a minimum of 35%,” said Yuen Low, an analyst at Shore Capital.

Tritax Big Box REIT /zigman2/quotes/208725841/delayed UK:BBOX +1.17%  slumped 8%. It said “early positivity in the occupational and investment markets may well be tempered by coronavirus” after increasing its dividend target by 2.2%, to 7.00 pence per share

/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
7,351.53
+14.48 +0.20%
Volume: 13,239
Dec. 9, 2021 8:07a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207225647/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
1,633.50 p
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 12,726
Dec. 9, 2021 8:06a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
£12.01 billion
Rev. per Employee
£125,244
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/216303066/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
4,456.00 p
-37.50 -0.83%
Volume: 6,070
Dec. 9, 2021 8:07a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
£9.25 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207049334/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
220.30 p
-1.00 -0.45%
Volume: 175,129
Dec. 9, 2021 8:07a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
£3.53 billion
Rev. per Employee
£144,389
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207007202/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
227.00 p
+1.60 +0.71%
Volume: 17,914
Dec. 9, 2021 8:05a
P/E Ratio
27.42
Dividend Yield
0.13%
Market Cap
£11.70 billion
Rev. per Employee
£101,016
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200043088/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
1,553.50 p
-10.50 -0.67%
Volume: 28,813
Dec. 9, 2021 8:07a
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.90%
Market Cap
£27.80 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200173667/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
1,420.00 p
+5.50 +0.39%
Volume: 8,398
Dec. 9, 2021 8:05a
P/E Ratio
18.48
Dividend Yield
3.83%
Market Cap
£13.98 billion
Rev. per Employee
£172,054
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208725841/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
242.80 p
+2.80 +1.17%
Volume: 292,025
Dec. 9, 2021 8:05a
P/E Ratio
5.75
Dividend Yield
2.68%
Market Cap
£4.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch markets editor for Europe. Follow him on Twitter: @MKTWgoldstein.

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