London’s FTSE 100 traded 0.15% higher at 7,136.57 points by noon on a quiet day for local corporate and economic news, as investors brace for an update from the US Federal Reserve at this week’s Jackson Hole get-together.

The FTSE 250 rose 0.7% to an all-time high of 24,043.49.

MAJOR STOCKS ON THE MOVE

British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) gained 2.3% to trade at 168.5p on optimism on the reopening of travel, especially with the US approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The airline may also benefit from Ryanair (RYA) pulling out of routes from Belfast.

Engineer Weir (WEIR) gained3.1% to £16.97, while ‘in play’ supermarket chain Sainsbury’s (SBRY) softened 0.7% to 321.3p as the glow from takeover rumours faded for a second day.

Morrison’s (MRW) shares edged 0.1% higher to 291.2p despite the company’s pension trustees warning that both the CD&R and Fortress offers would weaken the schemes. ‘The intervention suggests there is an increased risk of intervention by regulators whatever bid is successful,’ said Markets.com’s Neil Wilson.

Just Eat Takeaway (JET) defied the prospective gloom of being kicked out of the FTSE 100, up 1.1% at £70.13 by lunchtime. 69.69. FTSE Russell has reclassified the company as Dutch not British, making it ineligible for inclusion in UK indices.

Shares in UK rival Deliveroo (ROO) were marked 2.8% lower to 379.2p.

ELSEWHERE ON THE MARKET

Building materials distributor Grafton (GFTU) rose 3.3% to £13.52 after it reported a jump in first-half profit amid a recovery in housebuilding that underpinned a 46% surge in revenue.

Grafton reinstated its interim dividend at 8.5p per share.

Waste recycling firm Augean (AUG:AIM) jumped 17.5% to 335p after agreeing to be taken over in a 325p per share cash deal. Investment managers Ancala and Fiera Infrastructure of Canada have teamed up as Eleia to make the offer that values the UK company at £341.2 million.

This trumps the previous agreed bid of 280p a share from Morgan Stanley Infrastructure. Augean is now recommending the Eleia deal.

Leeds-based goods transporter Clipper Logistics (CLG) cheapened 0.25% to 810p despite having hiked its final dividend after profit jumped by a third in the first half, driven by ‘high’ demand for e-fulfilment services.

Clipper Logistics recommended a final dividend of 7.1p per share, bringing the total annual payout to 11.1p, up 14% year-on-year.

Marketing company Next Fifteen Communications (NFC:AIM) rallied 4.3% to 980p after it reported 31% growth in first-half revenue, beating its expectations, and upgraded its annual guidance.

Next Fifteen said organic growth was expected to moderate in the second half, given a relatively strong comparator, but was still anticipated to be higher than previously envisioned.

Bingo and casinos outfit Rank (RNK) climbed 3.9% to 179.4p on noting that UK tax authorities had decided to not to appeal a tribunal decision regarding value-added tax on slot machine income.

Rank said the tribunal had agreed a 60-day extension to allow Her Majesty's Revenue and Customers to agree the exact quantum of the claim with Rank, still expected to be around £80 million.

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Issue Date: 25 Aug 2021