The major UK equity indices started Monday’s trading session on an upbeat note. The blue chip FTSE 100 index and the mid-cap 250 index were ahead by 0.28% at 7,486.59, and 0.96% at 21,850.78 respectively in early trading.

Oil leviathan Shell (RDSA) is now trading without its dual listing. The consolidation into a single line took place over the weekend.

Whilst the oil majors will benefit from the Brent crude oil price moving to a seven-year high, it will further exacerbate concerns regarding inflationary pressures within the economy.

This is particularly timely given that on Thursday the Bank of England will decide on whether to increase interest rates from their current 0.25% level.

UK equity markets received a sentiment boost from a strong performance from all US equity indices on Friday.

ACTIVIST TARGETS VODAFONE 

Vodafone (VOD),the UK telecoms company is the latest target for Sweden-based activist investor fund Cevian. The Swedish investment firm has built up holdings in Vodafone over recent months. Shares jumped over 3% to 131.5p on the news

Shares in budget carrier Ryanair (RYA) drifted 2.7% lower to after announcing that it had booked a third-quarter loss after the Omicron coronavirus variant severely damaged demand during the crucial Christmas period.

Net losses for the three months through to 31 December amounted to €96 million, compared to year-on-year losses of €321 million.

Passenger volumes jumped to 31.1 million, up from 8.1 million, but were still relatively low thanks largely to Omicron.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said Ryanair’s full-year traffic forecast remained unchanged at just under 100 million passengers.

But due to Covid uncertainty, he said the company's full-year net loss guidance remained within a wider-than-normal range of €250 million to €450 million.

Educational publisher and services group Pearson (PSON) has acquired digital credentials and certifications company Credly.

Strategically the deal extends Pearson’s presence in the workforce skills sector, bringing together workforce analytics, learning, assessment and credentialing services.

The purchase price, including Pearson's existing 20% stake, represented a total value for the business of $200 million.

The market reacted positively to the news marking the shares 1.62% higher to 616p.

UK food producer Cranswick (CWK) said it had acquired Grove Pet Foods, a dry dog food producer, for an undisclosed sum.

Cranswick believe the combined business would be a beneficiary of vertical integration opportunities within its poultry and pork business.

Shares edged 0.5% higher to £36.48 on the news.

On-line estate agency firm Purplebricks (PURP:AIM) blamed a challenging period for a loss of £0.8 million, compared to last year’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation of £8.4 million.

Revenues during the six months to 31 October 2021 declined 7% to £41.3 million. An operating loss of £11.1 million, compared to a prior year profit of £6.9 million.

The shares moved ahead by 2.5% to 20.5p on the news.

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Issue Date: 31 Jan 2022