FTSE Open: Sainsbury's and Tesco up

UK supermarkets were standout gainers on Wednesday, with shares in Tesco and Sainsbury’s rising over 1% each after both companies posted stronger than expected festive trading updates.

The news sent the supermarket stocks outperforming the wider FTSE 100 index, which edged 0.2% higher to 7,733.68 in early trade.

According to research firm Kantar, UK grocery sales over the key Christmas period jumped 6.9% year-on-year, boosted by a 7.5% sales increase to £10.07 billion at market leader Tesco. Sainsbury’s likewise saw sales climb 9.3% to £5.77 billion.

The upbeat updates boosted confidence in the supermarket stocks, Tesco shares rose 1.3% while Sainsbury’s was up 1.7%.

Elsewhere, Entain jumped 2.2% after the gambling firm appointed activist investor Ricky Sandler as a non-executive director. GSK also climbed 2.2% following a broker upgrade.

In the FTSE 250, however, Wizz Air lost 1.1% as higher passenger traffic came at the expense of lower load factor. AIM-listed C4X Discovery was a standout gainer, surging 50% on a $11 million payment from AstraZeneca.

With consumers seemingly resilient and corporate newsflow driving action, UK stocks have seen a mixed start to 2024. But for now, local shoppers’ festive appetite continued to lift major supermarket chains.