Monday, April 20: European markets were mixed intraday but closed out the day in the green, with the FTSE 100(+0.45%) spurred higher by consumer staples and drugmakers, though a fall to WTI’s lowest level in >20 years and apprehension regarding forthcoming earnings season tempered enthusiasm for equities across the continent. Both Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser were 4% higher, with AstraZeneca +2%. However, Royal Dutch Shell(-2%), BP(-0.4%) and France’s Total(-0.16%) were all lower as US crude futures contracts slipped >50% on worries of a lack of commodity storage and a weakening global economy. West Texas Intermediate(WTI) slipped 17.9% to $14.99 before the European open and hit its lowest level seen since 1999.
Sofa specialist DFS saw out the day 10.86% higher after it revealed plans to issue up to 19.9% of its share capital in an equity raise and the negotiation of an additional debt facility. Investors were relieved to see that the furniture group was taking steps to ensure the business had ample liquidity should the crisis be prolonged.
Premier Foods(+29.05%) also closed out the day in the green after the Group informed the market of a coronavirus-induced boost to trade and an improvement in pension funding. Q4 sales rose by 3.6% as the Group experienced a dramatic short term peak in volumes across many categories in the month of March. Volumes have since started to abate, but higher than average patterns of demand are expected to continue given more meals will be eaten in the home that under normal circumstances.
European equities closed higher with the FTSE 100 +0.45%, the DAX 30 +0.47% and the CAC 40 +0.65%.