By Barbara Kollmeyer
A bounce for energy prices drove up heavily weighted stocks in the sector, leaving the London bourse higher following Monday’s lackluster start.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.27% rose 0.4% to 7,478 on Tuesday, on the heels of a 0.5% drop. The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.1983% was steady at $1.3579.
Fresh economic insight showed total U.K. retail sales rose 2.1% in December on an annual basis and 4.6% higher from two years ago, according to the BRC-KPMG monitor. Paul Martin, U.K. head of retail at KPMG said there are “many macro factors” outside of retailers’ control that could impact them going forward.
“Top priorities for retailers cautiously optimistic for 2022 will include a focus on re-engineering their business models, ensuring they operate resilient supply chains and having a tight grip on their costs,” said Martin, in a press release.
Retailers were on the rise, though, with shares of Next /zigman2/quotes/200704121/delayed UK:NXT +0.28% up 4.5% and B&M European Value Retail /zigman2/quotes/208742159/delayed UK:BME -0.88% rising 2%. Primark owner Associated British Foods /zigman2/quotes/204493701/delayed UK:ABF +0.73% rose 1% and grocer Tesco /zigman2/quotes/203761082/delayed UK:TSCO +0.19% gained just over 1%.
Pharmaceutical names were also climbing, with AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +1.05% /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.32% shares up 1.2% and GlaxoSmithKline /zigman2/quotes/209463850/composite GSK -0.81% /zigman2/quotes/200381158/delayed UK:GSK -1.17% stock up 1%. The latter said the U.S. has ordered another 600,000 doses of sotrovimab , an investigational monoclonal antibody for early COVID-19 treatment. GlaxoSmithKline has developed the treatment, shown to be effective against omicron and delta variants, with partner Vir Biotechnology /zigman2/quotes/214486077/composite VIR +9.16% .
Elsewhere, shares of Darktrace /zigman2/quotes/226518999/delayed UK:DARK -1.10% jumped 8% after the U.K. cybersecurity company reported strong growth over the first six months of fiscal 2022 and boosted its full-year outlook.