Ocado pops as FTSE 100 turns positive again

OcadoOcadoOcado is one of the biggest movers on Tuesday.

LONDON — The FTSE 100 opened higher on Tuesday, up 0.26%, or 18.52 points, to 7,137.00 at 8.55 a.m. GMT (3.55 a.m. ET).

London’s leading stock market turned positive again on Tuesday, after slumping on Monday. Investors were left confused and uncertain about what US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban would mean for businesses and the wider US business climate moving forward.

Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroker AJ Bell, says in an email on Tuesday morning: “The FTSE100 edged into positive territory in early trading although jitters remain over US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban and the possible effects of a hard Brexit on the UK economy.

“Traders will be looking to UK mortgage approvals, net lending, consumer confidence and money supply data out mid-morning, while in the EU it is inflation, unemployment and GDP data that will occupy attentions.”

Parliament will also kick-off a two-day debate on the government’s Brexit bill, which begins the process of Britain officially leaving the European Union. This debate could have the potential to move markets too.

Financials are leading the FTSE 100 higher on Tuesday morning, with Old Mutual up 1.6% and Hargreaves Lansdown up 1.58%. At the other end of the table is Randgold Resources, down 1.6% as traders book gains from a strong trading day on Monday.

But the standout stock in London on Tuesday morning is Ocado, the online grocery delivery service. The company, which is listed on the FTSE250 index just below the FTSE 100, is up almost 7% after an hours trade in London.

The surge follows better-than-expected full-year results. Sales rose 13.6% to £1.26 billion and pre-tax profit jumped 21.8% to £14.5 million.

AJ Bell’s Mould says: “Ocado has increased its active customer base by almost 14%, and delivered double-digit sales growth throughout the year which was consistently ahead of both the UK online grocery segment and the grocery market as a whole.”

But he adds: “The pressure on margins, though, has increased due to input cost inflation, largely fuelled by labour cost rises, and the impact of currency devaluation following the EU referendum.”

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