UK stocks rallied on Wednesday after two days of losses with domestically focused banks and insurers the main drivers amid thin corporate news.

Leading the gains were Lloyds Bank (LLOY) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) up 3% apiece to 36.3p and 135p respectively, supported by insurers RSA (RSA) and Phoenix (PHNX) up 2% to 423p and 675p respectively.

At 9am the FTSE 100 index was up 0.4% to 6,360 points while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index was 0.6% higher at 17,861 points.

Most of the corporate news involved mid- and small-cap firms, mainly in the consumer discretionary sector.

Casual dining firm Restaurant Group (RTN) announced it was launching a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its landlords for 210 of its Frankie & Benny’s outlets.

Assuming the arrangement is successful it will allow the firm to exit 125 sites as well as getting better rental terms on another 85 sites. Shares gained 4% to 73.5p.

Fast fashion brand Quiz (QUIZ:AIM) announced that it was also restructuring its store portfolio after it incurred losses due to the enforced closure of non-essential retail in March.

The firm has appointed insolvency practitioners from KPMG to review the proposal which would enable the group to operate an ‘economically viable store portfolio’ alongside its online business. Shares jumped 25% in response to 8.4p.

Heavy equipment rental specialist VP Group (VP.) posted record earnings for the year to the end of March but delayed a decision on its dividend, sending shares down 3.5% to 772p.

Pre-tax profits of £47.1m were ‘very satisfactory’ according to chairman Jeremy Pilkington, but given the lack of visibility on when trading might return to normal the firm decided to delay a decision on its dividend until later this year

‘The Board appreciates that income is of vital importance to shareholders and we intend to restore normal patterns of distributions as soon as possible’, added Piljington.

Payments firm Boku (BOKU) gained 1.7% to 87p after it reported a 35% increase in the value of transaction to $2.6bn in the first five months of the year. Monthly active users exceeded 20m for the first time in May, an increase of 36%.

Shares in instant-service equipment firm Photo-Me (PHTM) dropped 5% to 54p after it warned that pre-tax earnings for the year to 30 April could be down as much as 75% due to provisions for its photo ID business.

Sales in March and April were well below budget, leading the firm to cut capital spending and board pay, furlough staff and increase its borrowing. However the government’s decision to accept passport photos taken at home has caused the firm a ‘significant loss of revenue’ leading to provisions of £14m to £18m on underlying earnings expected to be around £28m compared with £42.6m a year ago.

Automotive testing firm AB Dynamics (ABDP:AIM) announced that chief technology officer Matthew Hubbard would step down with immediate effect ‘for personal reasons.’ Shares eased 0.8% to £18.90.





Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 10 Jun 2020