UK stocks began the week on a positive mood with the FSTE 100 index hitting a new post-pandemic high of 7,188 in early trading, lifted by gains in oil majors Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and BP (BP.) which more than offset losses for airlines and hotel firms.

By the close the benchmark had retraced to 7,147, up 13 points or 0.2%, ahead of a government press conference which was widely expected to signal a month-long delay to the full re-opening of the economy.

Brent crude prices traded 1% higher to $73.4 a barrel, near the year’s highs as the global economic recovery boosted prices. Last week Goldman Sachs raised its target price for Brent crude to $80 a barrel.

CORPORATE NEWS

Outsourcing firm Serco (SRP) raised its guidance for full year underlying trading profit by £15 million to £200 million after trading in the first five months of the year surpassed expectations.

The firm also announced its joint venture company with France's Engie had been awarded two significant contracts by the UK Ministry of Defence worth an initial £900 million in revenues over the next seven years.

With add-on work, the contracts could be worth £3.4 billion in total, with Serco sharing half the profits. Shares jumped 4.6% to 142p.

Infrastructure fund Jlen (JLEN) Environmental said it had acquired Cramlington Renewable Energy Development, owner of a biomass combined heat and power plant on a debt free basis.

The acquisition marks the firm's first investment in a large-scale biomass combined heat and power plant and reflects Jlen’s strategy to diversify its assets and secure ‘strong’ inflation-linked revenue streams. The shares were unchanged at 102.5p.

Distributer of plumbing and heating products company Ferguson (FERG) said it had entered into an agreement with JP Morgan to purchase up to £92.7 million worth of shares starting on 14 June and ending no later than 31 July 2021.

On 22 March the company obtained shareholder approval to purchase a maximum of 22.5 million shares. The shares added 0.8% to £96.51.

Apax Global Alpha (APAX) said its Apax X Fund had agreed to acquire a majority stake in Infogain, a Silicon Valley-based leader in digital platforms and software engineering services.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Los Gatos, California, Infogain provides human-centred digital platform engineering services to its customers. The shares gained 0.2% to 195p.

SHARE PLACING

Venture capital firm Draper Esprit (GROW:AIM) said full-year pre-tax profit to 31 March increased to £267.4 million from £40.5 million as income jumped to £288.8 million from £52.0 million.

Income comprised of investment gains of £276.3 million, up from £40.8 million and fee income of £12.5 million, up from £11.3 million.  Net asset value per share increased by 34% to 743p.

In a separate statement, the company announced plans to raise about £111 million through the placing of shares a discount.

The company intended to sell 13,902,778 shares at a price of 800 pence share, representing a discount of about 4.6% to the closing mid-market price of 839 pence per ordinary share on 11 June 2021. Shares reversed their earlier losses to close up 2.7% at 862p.

Shares in alcoholic drinks maker Distil (DIS:AIM) gained 8.7% to 2.4p after the company reported that full-year pre-tax profit to 31 March increased by 33.5% to £243,000 as turnover jumped 48% to £3.6 million.

RedLeg Spiced Rum and Blackwoods Gin were the key performance driver with both brands posting a 50% increase in revenue, ahead of the wider spirts market.

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: 14 Jun 2021