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UK stocks edge higher as investors bet on economic recovery

economic recovery

FTSE 100 rose 0.06% at 7,023.92 points, while the FTSE 250 inched up 0.26% to 22,582 points

UK stocks made modest gains in early trading on Monday, edging higher as investors continued to bet on a global economic recovery with vaccine rollouts gathering pace.

London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.06% at 7,023.92 points, consolidating its position above 7,000 as investors balanced reopening optimism with a need to take stock following recent gains, while the FTSE 250 inched up 0.26% to 22,582 points early on.

US futures were a little lower after the S&P 500 and Dow Jones finished at record highs on Friday, with both indices advancing more than 1% last week.

In company news, manufacturing company turnaround specialist Melrose Industries was marked up 1.3% to 181.1p after agreeing to sell its Nortek Air Management business to Chicago-based Madison Industries for £2.62 billion.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey rose 0.5% to £32.03 on news it has entered into a partnership with Finnish Minerals to establish a second battery materials plant in Finland and secured raw materials supply from Nornickle and SQM.

According to the company, these developments represent ‘important milestones on our journey towards developing a sustainable battery materials ecosystem and further demonstrate the progress we are making on the commercialisation of our business’.

Building insulation group Kingspan jumped 2.8% to £66.22 after it reported a 24% increase in first quarter sales, led by strength in mainland Europe, and said its outlook for the second quarter was positive.

Gas company Energean fell 3.3% to 829p after reporting wider annual losses as revenue dropped on lower energy prices.

Specialist wealth manager Mattioli Woods advanced 2.7% to 750p on announcing the acquisition of Caledonia Asset Management for up to £1.6 million.

Support services group Christie softened 2.7% to 108p after posting pandemic-impacted full year results showing a 46% drop in sales to £42.2 million and a lurch into loss.

Data solutions provider D4t4 Solutions gained 6.4% to 340p after the company lifted its outlook on profit after reporting strong performance in the second half of the year.

Billing and customer relationship management software provider Cerillion advanced 2% to 525p on news it expects to report a 25% increase in revenue for the first half to March 2021, having enjoyed its ‘strongest ever’ six month trading period.

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