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FTSE 100 movers: Banks rally; Relx hit by downgrade

15:42, 1st March 2024

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.4% at 7,663.76 in afternoon trade on Friday.
Banks Barclays, NatWest, Standard Chartered and Lloyds were all in the black.

Education publisher Pearson rallied as it said it expected 2024 earnings to be in line with expectations after reporting a rise in annual profits driven by strong demand for its English language courses and extending its share buyback by £200m.

Relx was under the cosh after Berenberg downgraded the stock to 'hold' from 'buy' following the recent share price outperformance.

The bank noted that the shares are up 38% over the last year, adding £17bn to the market cap and said it was taking profits and downgrading.

"We previously argued that Relx's scope to positively surprise on scale of buybacks was underappreciated, and this catalyst crystalised at the full-year results on 15 February, with management announcing a £1bn buyback for 2024," it said.

"We also previously argued that Relx's medium-term growth was more sustainable than consensus appreciated.

"However, consensus caught up and our price target, which was the highest among our peers when we initiated, soon became the lowest of those analysts with a buy recommendation."

IMI was also weaker even as it reported a 12% jump in 2023 profits and forecast higher earnings this year, driven by a strong order book.

FTSE 100 - Risers

Barclays (BARC) 171.20p 4.10%
Pearson (PSON) 992.00p 3.27%
NATWEST GROUP (NWG) 245.90p 2.84%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RKT) 5,134.00p 2.72%
Airtel Africa (AAF) 97.25p 2.53%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 683.20p 2.34%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 47.48p 1.94%
BP (BP.) 469.55p 1.92%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 70.42p 1.88%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,298.00p 1.80%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Ocado Group (OCDO) 494.70p -3.27%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,772.00p -2.50%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 621.40p -2.14%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,929.00p -1.93%
St James's Place (STJ) 494.70p -1.65%
Relx plc (REL) 3,410.00p -1.47%
Kingfisher (KGF) 231.20p -1.41%
Experian (EXPN) 3,339.00p -1.36%
IMI (IMI) 1,710.00p -1.33%
Bunzl (BNZL) 3,113.00p -1.27%

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The information, investment views and recommendations in this article are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial product relating to any companies under discussion or to engage in or refrain from doing so or engaging in any other transaction. Any opinions or comments are made to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer but no responsibility is accepted for actions based on such opinions or comments. Vox Markets may receive payment from companies mentioned for enhanced profiling or publication presence. The writer may or may not hold investments in the companies under discussion.

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