Tuesday, April 21: Energy stocks weighed on the FTSE 100(-2.96%) as the panic which saw US May futures into negative territory yesterday sent US June futures lower today and permeated equity markets across the globe. Investors worried that the coronavirus pandemic has stifled demand, and these worries coincide at a critical juncture for US WTI, given there is only weeks of storage left at Cushing, Oklahoma, the main storage hub in the US. The June contract for US WTI crude fell 27% to c. $14.89/barrel mid-afternoon, after hitting $11.79, the lowest since 1999.
Sainsburys’(+3.07%) was one of the top gainers on the primary index after broker research indicated it was likely to be one of the larger beneficiaries of the UK Government’s business rates relief. Analysts at Barclays pointed towards the grocers bigger rates bills vs. major peer Tesco. Tesco does not expect rates relief to offset pandemic costs, however Sainsbury’s could become a net beneficiary due to a greater proportion of business rates within its cost base. Barclays has an overweight rating on the grocer and a target price of 250.0p.
Blue Prism(+10.34%) announced a £100m placing of 10.9% of issues share capital to raise £100m before expenses at 1100p per share. Net proceeds will be used to shore up the balance sheet and support the Group in its move towards a cash break-even position and support future market opportunities.
European equities closed lower with the FTSE 100 -2.96%, the DAX 30 -3.99%, and the CAC 40 -3.77%.