The FTSE 100 index dipped into negative territory during midday trading on Friday, softening by 0.2% to 7,0111.79. In contrast the FTSE 250 Index fared better trading 0.4% higher at 23,735.41.

The UK market was uninspired by the latest UK retail sales volumes for August which showed a 0.9% decline from July. This compared with a consensus forecast of a 0.5% rise.

According to the ONS report 6.5% of retailers were impacted by supply chain challenges, restricting the materials they required.

Investors will be focusing on the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey for September, which is published at 3pm.

TRAVEL HOPES

Airlines and other stocks whose fortunes are tied to the travel industry, including International Consolidated Airlines (IAG)TUI (TUI) and WH Smith (SMWH), were in demand on hopes for the relaxation of international travel rules.

Government ministers are looking to scrap the requirement for the double-jabbed returning to the UK to take PCR tests and the traffic light system would be scrapped..

CORPORATE NEWS

Martin Sorrell-steered marketing services company S4 Capital (SFOR) firmed 2.25% to 818p as it announced a merger between Zemoga and its new unitary brand Media.Monks.

The merger marks a ‘significant first step towards building a third practice area around technology services’, said S4 Capital.

Safestay (SSTY:AIM) surged 10% higher to 22p after the hostels operator company said it will undertake a review of strategic options including the sale of the company, having received a ‘very early’ stage potential takeover approach.

The company said it has made progress on its strategy to protect the business and secure capital to enable it to re-emerge strongly from the pandemic, the cost base has been ‘substantially’ reduced and it has completed the sale of two assets to raise £16.8 million.

Venture capital investor Draper Esprit (GROW) fell 0.7%% to £10.56 despite having reported a significant uplift in the value of its stake in Cazoo following the online used car seller’s recent listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Online wine retailer Virgin Wines (VINO:AIM) bubbled 0.3% higher to 205p after partnering with Moonpig (MOON) to launch a range of wines with the online greeting card-to-gifting platform.

OTHER RISERS AND FALLERS

Sustainable wood products maker Accsys Technologies (AXS:AIM) jumped 4.5% higher to 162p on news it has made a ‘strong’ start to the financial year with revenue and volumes in growth amid ongoing consumer demand and uptick in prices in its wood elements products.

Renewables investment trust NextEnergy Solar Fund (NESF) nudged 0.1% higher to 98.6p after forming a £100 million joint venture with battery storage specialist Eelpower.

Marking the fund’s first strategic step into the UK energy storage sector, the joint venture is targeting the establishment of up to 250MW in projects with £100m in invested capital and has already signed its first acquisition of a 50MW standalone battery storage project.

Gold exploration and development company Goldstone Resources (GRL:AIM) plunged 12% to 10p on news plans to bring the Homase mine within its Akrokeri-Homase gold project in Ghana into production have suffered a setback amid struggles to secure government approval to use a rented gold elution facility.

Faron Pharmaceuticals (FARN:AIM) sparked up 8.3% to 447p after the company said updated results from an early-stage trial showed that its cancer drug was well tolerated and had the potential to increase survival in patients with a variety of late stage solid tumours.

Growth and turnaround investment company Volvere (VLE:AIM) improved 0.3% to £12.94 as it reported narrowed first half losses as revenue was bolstered by the performance of Shire Foods, its frozen pie and pasty manufacturing business.

‘The group remains in a strong financial position with significant cash reserves and is poised to take advantage of any investment opportunities arising from reducing levels of UK government support schemes,’ insisted the company.

 

 

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Issue Date: 17 Sep 2021