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FTSE 100 at the close: Marks & Spencer, National Grid, Centrica

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By Patrick Munnelly, Market Strategist, Tickmill

On Wednesday, UK shares traded lower at the start of the session, primarily due to a decline seen in energy suppliers. The FTSE 100, the benchmark stock index, managed to recover some of its early losses and ended the trading session with a 0.11% loss.


Marks & Spencer beats analyst expectations

British retailer Marks & Spencer LON:MKS saw its stock up by 8.4% at the close, making it the top gainer on the FTSE 100. The company posted a profit before tax and adjusted items of £360.2 million ($442.00 million) for the first half, surpassing analysts’ expectations of £276 million. Marks & Spencer also reported that it had maintained trading momentum through October and anticipated a strong holiday season.

Furthermore, the company stated that its structural cost-cutting program was on track, with over £100 million in savings delivered in the first half of the year.

Despite these positive results, Marks & Spencer noted that it does not expect favourable market conditions to persist into 2024, citing concerns about high interest rates, deflation, and the geopolitical environment.

The stock is up 82.6% year-to-date.

Centrica down as government targets energy suppliers

On the negative side of the ledger sits National Grid LON:NG. down 2.06% closely followed by Centrica LON:CNA down 1.36% as the UK government looks set to target energy suppliers in the upcoming parliamentary programme.

This comes after a report commissioned by Centrica Plc, the parent company of British Gas, warned that an excess of planned renewable energy projects seeking to connect to the UK’s electric grid could discourage investment in the sector, potentially jeopardising the nation’s climate targets.

The report reveals that there are projects with the capacity to produce 371 gigawatts of power waiting to connect to the grid. However, only around half of these projects are expected to be completed before 2029.

The report also suggests that only 30% to 40% of these projects are likely to be realised, with the majority of them still in the early phases of development. This oversupply of projects could create uncertainty and hinder investment in the renewable energy sector.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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