London’s FTSE 100 built on Friday’s early gains to trade up 0.7% at 7,011.66 by midday, while the domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 edged 0.7% higher to 22,231.2 points.
The move higher followed a rally on Wall Street overnight with the latest update on retail sales across the Atlantic likely to be in focus this afternoon.
SAGE NUMBERS ADD UP
On the market, accounting software firm Sage (SGE) saw interim results give its stock a lift, the share price advancing 3.5% to 645.2p.
The figures prompted an upgrade from analysts at Morgan Stanley, which also moved became more positive on the prospects of budget hotelier Whitbread (WTB) as lockdown restrictions in the UK continue to ease, pushing its stock 2.2% higher to £31.30.
Miners led the FTSE loser board in early trading as investors took profits after a strong inflation trade run. Rio Tinto (RIO) fell 1.9% to £61.84, while red hot copper stock Antofagasta (ANTO) softened 1.9% to £17.83.
The big corporate story of the day came among the mid-caps, where FTSE 250 specialist asset services firm Sanne (SNN) jumped 21% to 728p after rebuffing a £1.3 billion bid approach from private equity firm Cinven.
Investors were betting that Cinven is not done, and that the failed offer could also draw rival buyers into an auction for Sanne.
Commodities broker Marex Spectron hopes to list shares on the London Stock Exchange’s main market, the company has said.
Marex saw revenue jump 18% to $414.7 million in the year to 31 December 2020, with adjusted operating profit before tax up 15% from $53.4 million to $61.5 million, the company said.
ELSEWHERE ON THE MARKET
Infrastructure investor John Laing (JLG) said it wrapped its investment in the Colombian road public private partnership project Pacifico 2 after receiving all necessary approvals. Its share price rose 1% to 364p.
Gold production firm Polymetal (POLY) has received an ISS ESG Corporate rating of B-, placing the firm in the Prime sector. It saw growth, climbing to 1.4% to £16.
Real Estate company LondonMetric Property (LMP) said it had acquired three logistics warehouses in Croydon, Dunstable and Warrington for a combined £18.7 million. It recovered from an early fall, rising 0.8% to 225p.
Real estate investment trust LXi REIT (LXI) said it had acquired Cazoo click & collect facility in Doncaster and two additional drive-thru coffee units in Edinburgh and Dumbarton for a combined £6.1 million. Its share price rose 0.6% to 135.2p.
Home builder Crest Nicholson (CRST) said it expected profit to receive a one-off boost after it agreed to sell its 50% stake in Longcross Studio, a film studio, to Longcross General Partner, an Aviva Investors company. Its share price rose 1.3% to 427p.
Shares in The Works (WRKS) weakened 3.7% to 70p after the cut-price books, toys and arts and crafts retailer refrained from issuing earnings guidance, warning ‘a higher than normal degree of uncertainty remains’ in terms of the consumer recovery which is expected to ‘persist for some time’.
Supplier of advanced composite kitting solutions Velocity Composites (VEL:AIM) surged 15% higher to 23p on news it has signed a new three-year contract with a major Tier 1 aerostructures manufacturer based in Hampshire.