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Week in Review: FTSE 100 leaps higher as Bank of England talks up economy

07 May 2021

Categories: The week in review

FTSE news

The FTSE 100 leapt higher on Thursday (6 May) as the Bank of England (BoE) upgraded its forecasts for the UK economy (see Economic Update). The blue-chip index jumped 0.52% higher to 7,076.17.

• Halifax kicks off the week with its latest house price index on Monday (10 May).
• On Tuesday (11 May), the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders publishes used car sales data, a key indicator of the health of the sector.
• The Office for National Statistics publishes UK trade data on Wednesday (12 May).
• In a property heavy week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors takes the market’s temperature in its monthly Residential Market Survey on Thursday (13 May).
• On Friday (14 May), REC and Emsi update on the UK’s labour market with their latest Jobs Recovery Tracker.

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Sector in focus

UK-listed travel stocks were boosted this week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed there would be some “opening up” of travel on 17 May.

For more than a year unnecessary travel – holidays, for example – has been banned under the coronavirus restrictions imposed by the government.

But with more than 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccine having been administered across the UK, ministers believe they can now loosen some of those restrictions.

That said, so-called “red list” countries – those with high coronavirus and low vaccine rates – will remain effectively off-limits even after 17 May.

Meanwhile, the European Union signalled this week it would loosen its own rules on foreign visitors from low-risk countries, such as the UK.

The news sent the share prices of easyJet plc (EZJ), TUI AG (TUI) and British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group plc (IAG) soaring.

Economic update

The Bank of England (BoE) has raised its forecast for the UK economy this week, saying it looks stronger than it did a few months ago.

The central bank now thinks the economy will grow by around 7.25% this year, up from its prediction of 5% in February.

That means the economy should reach pre-Covid levels by the fourth quarter of this year, the BoE said.

“GDP is expected to recover strongly to pre-Covid levels over the remainder of this year in the absence of most restrictions on domestic economic activity,” it said on Thursday (6 May).

Meanwhile, the members of the central bank’s rate-setting committee voted unanimously to hold rates at 0.1%.

Fund watch

Need a low-cost, diverse, medium-risk fund to get you started when it comes to investing? L&G Multi-Index 5 I Acc (GB00B8VZ3F59) ticks all of those boxes. The fund invests in so-called ‘passive funds’ that aim to track the performance of major stock market indices. It also invests a sizeable portion of your money in bonds, which are generally considered to be less risky than shares. It has an ongoing charge of 0.31% and has returned more than 48% in five years.

ETF watch

So-called ‘value stocks’ – companies that have low share prices compared to earnings – are becoming more fashionable again. If you want to take advantage of this trend, you might want to consider iShares Edge MSCI World Value Factor ETF Acc GBP (IWFV), which invests in exactly these types of companies. It has an ongoing charge of 0.3% and has returned 64% in five years.

Company announcements

13 May – Burberry Group plc (BRBY) issued an unscheduled trading update in March revealing that profit was likely to come in ahead of consensus when it reports its full-year results on Thursday (13 May). However, it has experienced a backlash in China, a key market, after western nations raised concerns about the country’s human rights record. The firm is likely to address this issue in its results.

13 May – BT Group (BT.A) shares have been on a downward trajectory for more than six years, but they have soared by nearly 10% in the past month. The increase follows its decision to explore the sale of its pay-tv sports arm. The telecommunications giant reports its full-year results on Thursday (13 May).

Author: MRM Categories: The week in review