M&S Share Performance A Bright Spot On FTSE Index
The UK's top share index was knocked down of its highs on Wednesday and sustained its biggest loss in two months as oil majors and commodity-related stocks fell but well-received results made Marks & Spencer a bright spot.
The blue chip FTSE 100 index closed down 1.17 percent at 7,785.08 points. A surprise fall in British inflation pushed sterling to its lowest level against the dollar this year but failed to provide any tailwind to companies whose revenues are in foreign currencies.
Marks & Spencer shone despite the risk-off mood and was the biggest gainer with a 5.2 percent rise after the retailer gave a full-year update.
Read More: See what the UK's leading retail analysts had to say about M&S' performance.
While it reported a second straight decline in annual profit and saw like-for-like clothing and home sales fall in the fourth quarter, investors were positive that the retailer had kept its outlook and not cut its dividend.
Marks & Spencer is undertaking a program of store closures to help revitalise the business.
Ameet Patel, senior analyst for Northern Trust Capital Markets, said M&S's results were solid and highlighted the confident tone in the company's outlook commentary.
"There remains a considerable short base in (M&S) for the all the 'obvious' reasons to sell UK retail, which brings with it the potential for squeezes on lack of bad news or even shades of positive news," added Patel.
M&A has been a prominent theme among UK stocks this year as the pound remains at subdued levels.