Leading UK stocks reversed earlier gains to fall at the finish on Monday, with the FTSE 100 retreating but managing to stay above 7,000 by the skin of its teeth. The UK’s benchmark lost 0.3% to end the day at 7,000.08, while the FTSE 250 nudged 0.1% lower to close at 22,490.86, easing off its record finish on Friday.
It was a largely dull day for company news with attention very much grabbed by the shock news of a breakaway European football ‘super league’, where Manchester United’s New York-listed stock jumped more than 10% on Wall Street’s opening to $17.85. Shares in Italian club Juventus, also one of the breakaway dozen, saw its stock jump 18% on Monday.
The pound was strong with sterling jumping more than 1% to trade just shy of $1.4000 against the dollar, while bitcoin showed signs of stabilising after falling as much as 15% over the weekend on talk of a new clampdown by US authorities.
PELOTON TREADMILL SCARE
In company news, Coca-cola improved 0.6% to $54.02 after the company beat revenue and earnings expectations, while shares in Nasdaq-listed Peloton Interactive fell after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission urged the public to stop using the Peloton Tread because of safety concerns.
In the UK, manufacturing company turnaround specialist Melrose Industries (MRO) plunged 5% to 169.94p after agreeing to sell its Nortek Air Management business to Chicago-based Madison Industries for £2.62 billion.
Chemicals company Johnson Matthey (JMAT) edged up 0.4% to £31.98 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 (KGP) saw earlier gains ease but stayed 1% to €76.20 after it reported a 24% rise in first quarter sales, led by strength in mainland Europe, and said its outlook for the second quarter was positive.
ELSEWHERE ON THE MARKET
Billing and customer relationship management software provider Cerillion (CER:AIM) made 6%-plus gains to 548p on news it expects to report a 25% rise in revenue for the first half to March 2021, having enjoyed its ‘strongest ever’ six month trading period.
‘This excellent performance reflects three major factors; on-going work on new customer implementation projects, strong demand from existing customers, and two major contract wins totalling £18.4 million, which were secured in March 2021,’ said the company, adding that its ‘sales pipeline remains strong, and prospects for the remainder of the financial year are very positive’.