FTSE Close: Stocks close higher; Auction Tech soars on trading update

London stocks closed higher on Tuesday, shaking off some pre-Fed nerves as investors eyed big tech earnings.

The FTSE 100 ended up 0.4% at 7,666.31, recovering from opening losses. The midcap FTSE 250 index ticked up 0.2% to 19,349.50.

IMI led blue chip gainers, rising 1.6% after naming Jamie Pike as its next Chairman. Diageo added 0.7% although the drinks giant reported a 15% half-year profit slump amid macro pressure.

Housebuilders were mixed following analyst ratings changes. Taylor Wimpey gained 1.5% as BofA upgraded to Buy. But the bank cut its stance on Barratt Developments and Persimmon, which fell 1.2% and rose 0.5% respectively.

In the FTSE 250, Auction Technology Group was the standout performer – rocketing 19%. The online auction firm said trading had started 2024 in line with views after an 11% rise in quarterly revenues. Value-added services growth offset weaker gross merchandise volumes.

Cruise operator Carnival also made waves, adding 3.0%. It predicted a profit hit from Middle East trip disruption but said recent booking trends remained “robust”.

The bright spots helped lift the overall indices despite ongoing economic uncertainty. Attention now turns to major Wall St earnings releases from Microsoft and Google-owner Alphabet.

FTSE All-Share Gainers

Auction Technology Group: +19.8%, Superdry: +10.9%, Ultimate Prod: +6.4%, Pendragon: +5.1%, Seraphim Sp: +4.7%, Chrysalis Inves: +4.6%, Kainos Group: +4.5%, Synthomer: +3.9%, Ocean Wilsons: +3.9%, Baltic Classifieds Group: +3.9%.

FTSE All-Share Fallers

Speedy Hire: -18.1%, Renewi Plc: -5.9%, Airtel Africa: -5.2%, Luceco: -4.8%, Gulf Marine Services: -4.2%, Ncc: -3.9%, Mobico Group: -3.8%, Metro Bank: -3.7%, Residential Sec: -3.7%, Digital 9: -3.7%.