London’s FTSE 100 opened higher on the first trading day of June, buoyed by resources plays as global recovery hopes drove further rises in commodities prices.

By 8.30 am, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.5% at 7,057.54 points with mining giants BHP (BHP), Glencore (GLEN) and Rio Tinto (RIO) leading blue chip gains, rising 2.8% to £21.83, 2.7% to 330p and 3.4% to £62.67 respectively.

News of surging house prices thanks to the stamp duty holiday rush sent shares in Barratt Developments (BDEV) and Persimmon (PSN) higher too, bid up 2.1% to 773p and 1.9% to £32.20.

The more domestically-focused FTSE 250 also traded 0.5% higher at 22,791.6 early on.

BOOST FOR BIFFA

Waste management company Biffa (BIFF) rose 6.7% to 312p, despite swinging to a full-year loss, on news the group ended the financial year to March 2021 with ‘results ahead of our expectations’ and that it is ‘strongly positioned for the post-pandemic recovery’.

The company added that its agreement to acquire Viridor’s collections business and certain recycling assets is ‘another significant step for Biffa, further accelerating the delivery of our growth strategy’.

Wickes (WIX), the DIY chain recently spun out of Travis Perkins, gained 3.5% to 265p on guiding for an adjusted full-year profit within the top end of market expectations following a jump in year-to-date sales.

The company said the current range of analysts’ expectations for full-year adjusted pre-tax profit were £55 million-to-£74 million.

Elsewhere, sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion (JD.) improved 1% to 955p after denying media reports that executive chairman Peter Cowgill is set to depart.

‘JD can confirm to both investors and to its international brand partners that the board is not engaged in a process to recruit a Chief Executive Officer or Chairman,’ the company said.

‘JD can also confirm that it is continually reviewing the depth of its management team to ensure that the senior operational leadership team in the business has the necessary skills and experience to exploit the ongoing global development opportunities,’ continued the retailer.

IN OTHER NEWS

Enterprise software group Micro Focus International (MCRO) added 0.8% to 524.06p on the appointment of Matt Ashley as its new chief financial officer, to replace Brian McArthur-Muscroft at the end of June.

Ashley was previously CFO of gambling company William Hill and also had held senior roles at bus company National Express.

Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk (POG) firmed 3.5% to 26p on news it has technically launched a floatation plant for processing ore, slightly ahead of a mid-year target.

The Pioneer floatation plant is Petropavlovsk’s second facility for processing refractory gold ore and producing flotation concentrate.

Advertising firm M&C Saatchi (SAA:AIM) rallied 9.8% to 140.5p as it upgraded its annual profit forecasts after winning new work from the likes of the UK Census campaign and dating app Tinder.

Scottish house builder Springfield Properties (SPR:AIM) jumped 13% to 169p on guiding for annual profit and revenue ‘significantly’ ahead of market expectations.

Flooring firm Victoria (VCP:AIM) improved 3% to £10.35 on news it has achieved ‘double-digit percentage increases’ in trading in 2021 compared to 2019. The company said comparatives with 2020 were meaningless due to complete lockdowns due to the pandemic.

‘The board confirms that trading continues to be very strong across all of Victoria’s geographies and product groups,’ said the company.

‘Encouragingly, leading indicators, such as housing transactions, savings rates, and consumer confidence, suggest that the current high levels of consumer demand for Victoria’s products will be sustained for the foreseeable future.’

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Issue Date: 01 Jun 2021