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Retailers take center stage as caution returns to FTSE

Predicting retail winners and losers in next month’s Christmas business updates will be harder than ever after last-minute shopping was disrupted by Omicron.

But analysts at Peel Hunt did their best after identifying Hotel Chocolat, JD Sports Fashion, Dunelm and Next as stocks where trade should have filtered to bottom line.

While not Christmas-focused, DFS and Halfords both appear to be positioned to outperform and the broker has said there should be progress – but not upgrades – from Superdry and ASOS.

He added: “We believe trading peaks will be ‘fine’ overall for the most part, although supply chain challenge and inflationary pressures likely mean upgrades are rare.”

This view echoed the cautious mood in the London market today, with yesterday’s bearish buying rally giving way to lackluster trading.

The FTSE 100 index lost 11.26 points to 7,286.15 and the FTSE 250 index improved 0.4% or 86.39 points to 22,906.69.

AJ Bell chief investment officer Russ Mold said how long these curbs will be in place.

“So far, the markets, except on odd days, have pretty much managed to hold back the idea that, to use the central bankers’ favorite word in 2021, Omicron’s impact will be transient.

“If that changes, we could see a steeper sell-off in global equities as growth expectations for 2022 are quickly reset.”

One of the biggest moves in the session came from Syncona, an FTSE 250-listed life sciences investor, following today’s sale of gene therapy company Gyroscope Therapeutics to Swiss giant. Novartis drugs for £ 1.1 billion.

Syncona co-founded Gyroscope in 2016 and will generate initial proceeds of £ 334million from the sale, which represents a £ 180million increase from its current value.

Shares jumped 8.5% or 17p to 217p, as Syncona also said it retains exposure to Gyroscope development depending on the completion of certain milestones, with the potential to generate additional proceeds of $ 255 million. pound sterling.

Chris Hollowood, Chief Investment Officer, said: “We look forward to seeing Gyroscope realize its potential in the next phase of its growth with Novartis. “

About Brandon A. Hood

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