By Barbara Kollmeyer
The U.K.’s postal delivery service was outshining the FTSE 100 index on Thursday, after Royal Mail reported better-than-expected results, with home builders also rising, though energy companies were tugging at the downside as oil prices fell.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.67% dipped 0.2% to 7,629, losing around 1% for the week so far, which would be its worst week since mid-September. Weakness for the main index has come as the pound has gained around 0.5%, after stronger-than-expected inflation and jobs data have bolstered expectations for a U.K. interest rate increase next month.
Many U.K. multinationals earning revenue overseas, so a strong pound works against them.
Royal Mail /zigman2/quotes/204213037/delayed UK:RMG +5.26% shares climbed 9% after the postal carrier reported a rise in pretax profit for the first half of fiscal 2022 and said that it is launching a share buyback program, and analysts said its turnaround program was gaining getting traction,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
“With large parts of the world having become more accustomed to buying goods online since the start of the pandemic, it’s fair to say 2021 will be the second ‘digital Christmas’ in a row. It’s so much easier to order goods online than venture to the high street and the system requires companies like Royal Mail to help deliver these items to the customer’s doorstep,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
A number of home builder shares were on the rise Thursday also, with Persimmon /zigman2/quotes/206444744/delayed UK:PSN +1.23% , Berkeley Group /zigman2/quotes/202576163/delayed UK:BKG +0.97% , Barratt Developments /zigman2/quotes/209812640/delayed UK:BDEV +1.62% , Taylor Wimpey /zigman2/quotes/208623755/delayed UK:TW +0.28% and Land Securities /zigman2/quotes/207145631/delayed UK:LAND +2.78% all up 4% or more.
Energy companies were under pressure as oil prices /zigman2/quotes/209723049/delayed CL00 -1.12% remained sluggish. Royal Dutch Shell and BP /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +2.78% /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +2.65% were down 2% each.