FTSE 100 movers: M&S boosted by Barclays note; Reckitt drops on results
London's FTSE 100 was flat at 7,117.67 in afternoon trade as investors digested disappointing UK retail sales data.
Retailer Marks & Spencer got a boost as Barclays initiated coverage of the stock at ‘overweight' with a 410p price target, which implies 14% potential upside.
The bank acknowledged that like the rest of the UK general retail sector, M&S currently faces some significant headwinds given weakening consumer sentiment and FX pressures on input prices, especially in the demand-elastic Clothing & Home segment.
However, it highlighted the fact that M&S Food has a good track record over many years, noting that the company is becoming increasingly food-focused over time.
In addition, Barclays said it sees plenty of opportunity to add more stores, 200 in the next two years on a base of around 600.
Equipment rental firm Ashtead was clawing back some ground, having fallen sharply in the previous session after results from US peer United Rentals showed rental rates were under pressure in the first quarter.
Aviva pushed higher after buying VietinBank's entire 50% shareholding in its life insurance joint venture VietinBank Aviva Life Insurance Limited and signing a new distribution agreement with VietinBank to sell life and health insurance products through its network of more than 1,100 branches.
Mondi and Smurfit Kappa recovered after declining on Thursday as their stock went ex-dividend.
On the downside, Rentokil fell despite announcing that its Rentokil Pest Control business has been awarded The Queen's Award for Enterprise for International Trade, recognising the business's outstanding achievement in global trade.
Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser was on the back foot after it reported flat sales for the first quarter.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 901.00p 2.39%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 359.50p 1.64%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,114.00p 1.50%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 294.60p 1.41%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 837.50p 1.39%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,601.00p 1.33%
Aviva (AV.) 513.00p 1.28%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,960.00p 1.24%
CRH (CRH) 2,705.00p 1.08%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 1,983.00p 1.07%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,462.00p -1.44%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,822.00p -1.25%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 239.40p -1.24%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,867.00p -1.17%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,190.00p -1.17%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 721.00p -1.10%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,575.00p -1.07%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,577.00p -0.88%
Kingfisher (KGF) 326.60p -0.79%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,323.00p -0.73%