UK stocks made modest gains in early trading on Monday, edging higher as investors continued to bet on a global economic recovery with vaccine rollouts gathering pace.

By 8.32 am, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.06% at 7,023.92 points, consolidating its position above 7,000 as investors balanced reopening optimism with a need to take stock following recent gains, while the FTSE 250 crept 0.26% higher to 22,582 points early on.

US futures were a little lower after the S&P 500 and Dow Jones closed at record highs on Friday, with both indices advancing more than 1% last week.

COMPANY NEWS

In company news, manufacturing company turnaround specialist Melrose Industries (MRO) was marked up 1.3% to 181.1p 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 0.5% to £32.03 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’.

KINGSPAN CLIMBS

Building insulation group Kingspan (KGP) climbed 2.8% to €76.4 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.

Gas company Energean (ENOG) cheapened 3.3% to 829p after reporting wider annual losses as revenue fell on lower energy prices.

Specialist wealth manager Mattioli Woods (MTW:AIM) gained 2.7% to 750p on announcing the acquisition of Caledonia Asset Management for up to £1.6 million.

OTHER RISERS AND FALLERS

Support services group Christie (CTG:AIM) softened 2.7% to 108p after posting pandemic-impacted full year results showing a 46% slump in sales to £42.2 million and a lurch into loss.

Data solutions provider D4t4 Solutions (D4T4:AIM) rose 6.4% to 340p after the company lifted its outlook on profit after reporting strong performance in the second half of the year.

Billing and customer relationship management software provider Cerillion (CER:AIM) improved 2% to 525p 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’.

And Genedrive (GDR:AIM) gained 8.2% to 72.5p after the diagnostics company said it had won a tender from the Public Health England to potentially supply diagnostic equipment and services.

SEE HERE FOR A FULL LIST OF FTSE 100 GAINERS AND LOSERS

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Issue Date: 19 Apr 2021