UK shares traded higher on Friday on economic recovery hopes and higher oil prices while copper prices hit an all-time high on expectations of tighter supply.

Merger and acquisition activity continued with a cash offer for St. Modwen Properties (SMP), while Meggitt (MGGT) shares jumped 15% after a report that aerospace company Woodward was working on a possible offer.

In Asian trading China’s Shanghai Composite index lost 0.65% while in Japan the Nikkei 225 gained 0.1%. Brent crude prices gained 0.2% to $68.2 dollars a barrel and Gold was 0.2% higher at $1,820 an ounce.

Markets will be closely watching the latest monthly job numbers in the US due to be reported at 1.30pm today, with economists expecting that 650,000 new jobs were created last month.

At 9am the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was 0.3% higher at 7,101 points.

CASH OFFER

Shares in property developer St. Modwen jumped 20% to 535p after it said it had received a non-binding proposal from funds managed by Blackstone regarding a possible cash offer of 542p per share, representing a 21.1% premium to the prior closing price.

The company said it was working with Blackstone to complete the required due diligence as soon as possible.

Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca (AZN) said a phase three trial of its lung cancer drug Imfinzi treated in combination with tremelimumab and chemotherapy demonstrated a progression free survival benefit.

However, the combination of Imfinzi and chemotherapy combination didn’t show a statistically significant improvement in overall survival. The shares added 0.5% to £77.19.

InterContinental Hotels (IHG) said first quarter revenue per available room to 31 March was down 50.6% versus 2019, and down 33.7% versus 2020.

This reflected a 23% reduction in occupancy, with the rate sustained at about 80% of 2019 levels. The company said there was a notable pick-up in demand in March, particularly in the US and China, which continued into April. The shares put on 0.75% to £50.82.

British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) said first quarter passenger capacity was 19.6% of 2019 levels and continued to be impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

This led to a reduced operating loss of €1.1 billion compared with €1.8 billion in 2020.

Plans for the second quarter capacity are running at around 25% of 2019 levels. Liquidity increased to €10.5 billion from €10.3 billion in the previous quarter driven by cost reductions and financing initiatives. The shares fell 0.6% to 205.7p.

POSTPONED LISTING

Life sciences investment trust Syncona (SYNC) said plans to list its portfolio biotech company Gyroscope Therapeutics Holdings had been postponed after considering current market conditions. The shares dropped 2.5% to 231p.

Shares in supplier of workplace and industrial products company Slingsby (SLNG:AIM) shot 6.5% higher to 249p after it reported a 225% increase in full year adjusted operating profit to £1.3 million.

Group sales increased by around 11% to £21.8 million driven by demand for coronavirus related products. The company also said first quarter revenues were 8% higher.

International stockbroker and corporate advisor Numis (NUM:AIM) reported an 82.9% increase in first-half revenues to £114.4 million and pre-tax profits up 438% to £39.3 million.

The company said its consistent focus on enhancing the firm's capabilities and strengthening client relationships had contributed to an excellent and broad-based first-half performance.

A list of FTSE 100 movers can be seen HERE

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Issue Date: 07 May 2021