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FTSE dips but Reckitt shines and Footasylum soars

FTSE dips on pound's rise but Reckitt Benckiser jumps on strong sales growth while on AIM, Footasylum soars after JD Sports buys stake.

FTSE dips but Reckitt shines and Footasylum soars

The FTSE 100 has fallen into the red, weighed down by defensive stocks and those with heavy international exposure as bullish investors embraced risk.

The UK blue-chip index fell 20 points, or 0.3%, to 7,217, weighed down by stocks with the bulk of their earnings overseas, as the pound rose against the dollar to trade at $1.291.

But Reckitt Benckiser (RB) bucked the falls, rising to the top of the FTSE 100, up 4.4% at £62.81 as the consumer goods group reported higher-than-expected fourth quarter sales growth.

'An improved performance from the recently acquired infant nutrition business has helped Reckitt's results come in slightly ahead of expectations,' said George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

'However, a strong showing in North America is masking continued problems in the key Chinese market, which is still hamstrung by weaker demographics and ongoing supply chain issues.'

The FTSE 250, whose stocks are more focused on the UK domestic economy than their blue-chip peers, rose 0.4% to 19,065.

But Plus500 (PLUSP) missed out on the rise, falling 1.9% to 904p and dropping to the bottom of the index, after admitting late on Friday that it failed to disclose certain losses from customer trading due to a drafting error in its 2017 report.

Among 'small-cap' stocks, McColl's (MCLSM) jumped 12.6% to 57p as the convenience store retailer said it was on course for its first quarterly rise in like-for-like sales in a year.

On the Alternative Investment Market, Footasylum (FOOT) surged 58.6% to 46p after rival sportswear retailer JD Sports (JD) said it had acquired a 8.3% stake and could buy more. 

Shares in JD Sports rose 2.5% to 460.8p. 

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