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MARKET WRAP: FTSE rallies as US CPI hits 40-year high

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Key Points

FTSE 100 closing price of 7,552.00 (+0.8%)
Miners rally as iron ore, copper jump
Sainsbury’s shares up after Christmas trading update
US CPI hits four-decade high
USD weakens, GBP/USD tests 1.37
Crude rallies as US oil stocks fall to lowest since October 2018
Bitcoin rallies; Shiba Inu outperforms on Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD) rumours

By Samuel Indyk – The FTSE 100 finished higher on Wednesday, supported by a rally in basic materials stocks as iron ore and copper prices rose. Antofagasta (LON:ANTO), Rio Tinto (LON:RIO), Glencore (LON:GLEN), and EVRAZ (LON:EVRE) were some of the best performing stocks in the blue-chip index as iron ore futures traded above 130 for the first time since early October.

Sainsbury ‘s (LON:SBRY) shares were higher after the company after the company recorded better than expected sales over Christmas and raised its underlying profit guidance for the full year to £720 million.

“Striking the right balance between offering good value and having the correct food proposition has meant good news for Sainsbury’s this time around,” said Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HRGV) equity analyst Sophie Lund-Yates.

However, Lund-Yates also notes that there may be challenges ahead for the supermarket.

“General Merchandise sales remain subdued, and while current events including supply chain disruption are partly to blame, there are structural declines in some markets,” Lund-Yates added. “Sainsbury’s is especially exposed to this market thanks to the acquisition of Argos.”

On the data front, focus was on US inflation. The consumer price index increased 7.0% in December from a year earlier, the biggest year-over-year increase since June 1982, although in line with market expectations. It is thought that this might be close to the peak for US prices but if it’s not, then more aggressive tightening from the Fed could be warranted.

“As for the path for inflation, we expect it to gradually slow in the coming months but it will likely remain above 3% throughout the year,” ING analysts said in a research note. “That said, the risks are likely skewed towards higher for longer inflation with the Federal Reserve ending up responding more aggressively to keep it in check.”

The USD sold off following the data with markets seemingly primed for a higher than forecast number. GBP/USD rose to its highest level since 4th November but found resistance ahead of 1.3700.

WTI and Brent crude futures continued their relentless march higher, this time as the Energy Information Administration reported that crude stockpiles declined by 4.553 million barrels in the latest week, more than the expected drawdown of 1.904 million barrels. The EIA said the US crude stocks have now fallen to their lowest level since October 2018.

“At 413.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are about 8% below the five year average for this time of year,” the EIA said.

Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies surged higher amid the broad risk-positive tone. After briefly dropping below $40,000 on Monday, Bitcoin has rallied over 10% since to trade briefly back above $44,000.

SHIBA INU was one of the better performing major cryptocurrencies after rumours began to swirl that the coin is going to be added to the Robinhood platform as early as February. The reports were unconfirmed but that didn’t stop the meme-based token from rising over 14%.


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MARKET WRAP: FTSE rallies as US CPI hits 40-year high

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