Reports that the Post Office has inked a deal to deliver for Amazon helped push Royal Mail (RMG) to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard on Monday.

By midday, the blue chip benchmark was up 0.8% at 7,086.07 points.

Amid the FTSE 250 ranks, low-cost airline EasyJet (EZJ) fell 14% to 587p on a UBS downgrade, having announced a £1.2 billion rights issue last week.

MARKET NEWS

Shares in specialist science and technology recruitment firm SThree (STEM) rose 5.7% to 580p after the group increased its annual profit guidance in a trading update for the quarter ended in August.

Group net fees for the period increased 29% to £91 million driven by robust growth in its three largest geographies of Germany (up 35%), USA (up 31%), and Netherlands (up 24%).

Bus and rail group FirstGroup (FGP) was one of the top performers in the mid-cap index, rising 2.8% to 89p after it announced it would return £500 million to shareholders via a share buyback.

Food and clothing conglomerate Associated British Foods (ABF) upgraded its fourth quarter earnings guidance for both its food business and the Primark retail division in a pre-close trading update.

However, shares were 2.2% lower at £19.26 after Primark’s fourth quarter sales missed analysts’ estimates due to fewer shoppers venturing out onto the high street.

Digitally-focused advertising agency S4 Capital (SFOR) increased its earnings guidance for the third time this year to 40% like-for-like gross profit growth.

In its first half results announcement, the company also provided an upbeat outlook, saying prospects for 2022 ‘also look stronger’, although the shares fell 7.7% to 759p on profit-taking after an extremely strong recent performance.

Specialist information and analytics company Ascential (ASCL) advanced by 1% to 418p after announcing the acquisition of OneSpace, a content optimization business.

OneSpace operates a Software-as-a Service model enabling the creation of original material and customizes content.

UK aerospace engineer Rolls Royce (RR) and defence contractor Babcock (BAB) revealed the sale of their joint stakes in AirTanker Holdings Limited to Equitix Investment Management.

Shares in Rolls Royce were 0.9% higher at 111p while Babcock International was bid up 3.7% to 353p.

Ultra-premium mixers play East Imperial (EISB) bubbled up 2.7% to 19p as the posh tonic water, ginger beer and grapefruit soda company reported 60% sales growth for the first half and said this positive momentum has continued into the second half, ‘where there has been a strong return to demand in some key markets, namely New Zealand, Europe and the US’.

FOR A LIST OF FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS SEE HERE

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 13 Sep 2021