UK stocks continued their strong run throughout morning trading on Thursday, boosted by gains in heavyweight mining stocks, while Deliveroo (ROO) posted a jump in first quarter orders.
The benchmark FTSE 100 rose 0.52% to 6,970 by 12pm, with miners providing the biggest boost to the index as they tracked higher metal prices.
Investors have been closely watching the index to see if it has the momentum to finally claw its way above the 7,000 level for the first time since the pandemic struck. It’s a landmark level, if only in the minds of investors, but breaking back above that level would be positive for the UK market zeitgeist.
The more domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 also gained, up 0.23% to 22,406, as it continues to trade near record highs.
Bitcoin surged above $64,000 as Coinbase Global made its public debut on Nasdaq, surging from a starting reference price to $250 to $381.
DELIVEROO ORDERS SOAR
In company news, food delivery firm Deliveroo said orders more than doubled in the quarter to 31 March in its first trading update since its highly-anticipated listing in London last month flopped.
Growth accelerated for the fourth consecutive quarter, the company said, with group orders up 114% year-on-year to 71 million and gross transaction value up 130% year-on-year to £1.65 billion.
But casting off the hangover from the IPO disappointment will take time, with the stock slipping 3.3% to 261.3p, around 30% below its 390p float price.
Online white goods seller AO World (AO.) rose 1.1% to 321.2p after it said it expected to report annual adjusted profit in line with market expectations following a strong final quarter to the fiscal year.
For the year ended 31 March 2021, adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation is expected to be in the range £63 million to £72 million, up from £19.6 million and in line with market consensus of about £66 million.
Sports-betting and gaming entertainment company Entain (ENT) gained 1.2% to £16.27 after making a ‘strong’ start to the year, with online gaming revenue rising by 33% in the first quarter of the year.
Total revenue for the quarter fell 13%, weighed down by its retail business, which was ‘significantly impacted by Covid restrictions with almost all shops entirely closed for the quarter,’ the company said.
ELSEWHERE ON THE MARKET
Analytics and eCommerce optimisation company Ascential (ASCL) rose 0.6% to 357.4p after acquiring Toronto-based Perpetua Labs, an eCommerce media optimisation business, for an initial $52 million.
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) edged 0.1% higher to £13.66 after saying it has prepared its Energy Transition Strategy publication, designed to bring the company’s energy products, services, and investments in line with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, for submission to a shareholder advisory vote. The AGM, which will be webcast, is scheduled for 18 May 2021.
In the FTSE 250, cell and gene therapy group Oxford Biomedica (OXB) gained 1% to £10.50 after reporting total revenues increase by 37% to £87.7 million in the year ending 31 December 2020.
Budget airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) dipped 0.7% to £48.33 as it expects to report a net loss of €570 million to €590 million and a full year underlying loss of €475 million to €495 million for full year 2021, with the low cost carrier continuing to battle the impact of the pandemic and ongoing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions.