- Business

Market report: FOMO sees investors pile into consumer shares

FOMO was back on Thursday as investors anxious about the Easter trading pause did their own panic buying, hoovering up risky consumer stocks like Cineworld and Superdry.

Markets will close on Thursday and not reopen until Tuesday. For City traders studying coronavirus case numbers and oil prices like hawks that feels like an awfully long time.

Global case numbers, currently at 1.5 million, could show a slowdown over the weekend. Opec could finally agree on some production cuts and drive oil prices back up. Things are moving fast at the moment.

That fear of missing out meant risk-taking was the order of the day, with crestfallen leisure and travel stocks — beaten black and blue by the recent sell-off — leading the charge.

Cineworld, which has become something of a totem for the coronavirus market crash, rallied 16% up 9.6p to 70p. It has been forced to shut all 787 cinemas due to the lockdown.

Premier Inn owner Whitbread also rose 7% gaining 206p to 3101p and easyJet jumped 7% or 44p to 690p.

Superdry, another consumer stock, also gained 14% up 19p to 154p.

That sentiment helped the FTSE 100 rise past the 5800 mark for the first time in a month, led higher by pleasing signs in the oil market.

Brent crude was up 3.3% to $34 per barrel on hopes a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia could be reached at Opec meetings on Thursday and Friday. The FTSE 100 gain later steadied, up 52 points at 5,729.63 points.

Further down the market, tool rental firm Speedy Hire said around 50% of its 1700 staff had been placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

It has frozen recruitment and salary reviews, cut senior salaries by 20% for three months and halted non-essential spending to cushion the blow from lower sales. Shares fell 1% to 54p.

Small-sized fund managers also revealed the scars of the market crash. Newly-merged Premier Miton, down 2.7% to 94p, saw assets under management drop by a fifth to £9.1 billion for the three months ending March.

Polar Capital also shed £2 billion of assets leaving it with assets under management of around £12 billion. Shares were flat at 400p.