London’s FTSE 100 finished Friday’s session 1.8% lower at 6,407.5 points after the worst week for markets since October. Wall Street opened in the red, the US market extending its run of losses as the GameStop saga continued.

Investors have been rattled by traders on Reddit buying stocks such as GameStop in coordinated attacks against short sellers, while concerns over vaccine nationalism, surges in Covid-19 infections and economic slowdown have also weighed on sentiment.

DR. MARTENS KICKS HIGHER

British bootmaker Dr. Martens (DOCS) jumped 22% to 450.5p on its first day of trading on the stock market, having priced its initial public offering (IPO) at 370p a share.

Alongside an initial 350 million shares, the company said a further 52.5 million shares would be made available in an over-allotment option, following heavy demand that saw the offer eight times oversubscribed, it said in a statement.

Chief executive Kenny Wilson said, ‘We have been delighted by the strong levels of interest, engagement and support from such a high quality selection of institutional investors. The successful transformation of Dr. Martens is a great story, and what is even more exciting is the huge potential ahead.’

Pub group Marston’s (MARS) fizzed 10.8% higher to 83p after it confirmed it has received an unsolicited takeover bid from buy-out outfit Platinum Equity Advisors.

Online fast fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO:AIM) gained 1.5% to 339p after it confirmed it’s in talks to buy the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands from failed retail group Arcadia.

Arcadia fell into administration in November last year casting doubt over the future of its brands and 13,000 jobs. Any deal would be for the brands, and not the physical stores.

Publishing company Bloomsbury Publishing (BMY) surged 8.8% to 309p after it lifted its annual profit and revenue expectations thanks to strong performance in its consumer division amid a surge in reading during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

For the 12 months ending 28 February 2021, revenue was expected to be ahead and profit before tax and highlighted items ‘well ahead’ of market expectations of £161.8 million and £12.1 million, respectively, the company said.

‘This follows continued strong trading in the consumer division, for both adult and children’s publishing,’ the company said.

ELSEWHERE ON THE MARKET

Military equipment maker Avon Rubber (AVON) cheapened 0.5% to £30.85 as it said it remained ‘confident’ of meeting its expectations for the financial year as ‘good’ order intake across its portfolio of life critical personal protection systems had continued.

‘We have seen positive order momentum in the military, first responder and Team Wendy businesses, and have made progress with the updated body armor designs for the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts and U.S. Army Vital Torso Protection contracts,’ the company said.

‘The board therefore remains confident of achieving its expectations for the current financial year,’ it added.

Mining company Evraz (EVR) dipped 0.2% to 501.2p as it reported a rise in crude steel sales as output in the fourth quarter increased, but annual production declined slightly in 2020 on turbulence in oil and gas markets.

Biotherapeutics company PureTech Health (PRTC) improved 8% to 401p on the appointment of Bharatt Chowrira to its board as an executive director.

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Issue Date: 29 Jan 2021