Blue chip UK stocks edged higher by lunchtime on Friday despite the UK economy shrinking by the highest amount on record with a 9.9% slump in 2020, as gross domestic product (GDP) numbers beat expectations.

According to analysts at Saxo Bank, GDP quarter-on-quarter beat expectations at 1% vs 0.5% surveyed, whilst GDP year-on-year highlighted that the UK economy contracted less than expected at -7.8% compared to the consensus of -8.1%.

The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.15% to 6,538.36, while the midcap FTSE 250 index recouped some of its earlier losses but was still down 0.2% to 20,975.02.

CORPORATE NEWS

In a day of little significant corporate news, airline and package holiday provider Jet2 (JET2) fell 7.55% to £12 after it raised £422 million by issuing new shares at a 9% discount to last night’s closing price to help see it through the crisis. The company said the fundraise was ‘significantly oversubscribed’.

Ascential (ASCL) nudged up 0.22% to 368p as the information and analytics company said it had sold its DeHavilland brand for £15 million to Bridgepoint. The sale concluded the disposal of Ascential's built environment and policy segment businesses.

Apax Global Alpha (APAX) gained 1.71% to 206.47p after announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in Herjavec Group, a managed security services provider and cyber operations company.

The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) dipped 0.94% to 127.39p on the news that it had acquired Gronhult, a 67.2 MW ready-to-build onshore wind farm located in the southwest of Sweden. The project is expected to become operational in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Vivo Energy (VVO) climbed 4.86% to 82p after the African-focused fuel retailer said it expected full-year adjusted EBITDA to be at the top end of market expectations after the ongoing recovery in its retail segment led to positive trading in the fourth quarter.

Victrex (VCT) was almost flat at £22.68 as the plastics manufacturer announced its first quarter 2021 was 'slightly ahead' of expectations after seeing improvements in some of its end markets including electronics.

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Issue Date: 12 Feb 2021