The FTSE 100 rallied in early morning trade as investors continue to bet on a sharp economic recovery, with the UK and other countries around the world easing more and more lockdown restrictions.

The UK’s benchmark index was up more than 1% to 6,412 by 8.30am, and will be on track to climb more than 2.5% this week if the rally continues throughout the day.

It mirrors the strong surges seen in Asian stock markets, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 0.7%, China’s Shanghai Composite up 0.4% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong up 1.7%.

TAYLOR WIMPEY RESTARTS CONSTRUCTION

In the one company update from the FTSE 100 this morning, housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) climbed 4.7% to 166.2p after it said it had restarted construction on the majority of its sites in England and Wales, with Scottish sites preparing for a return of activity.

The company said in its business update that it was on track to reach ‘meaningful’ production capacity from the end of June.

Total completions in the 22 weeks to 31 May were 2,455, down from 4,052 on-year, reflecting the impact of site closures, while its order book had continued to increase, and, as at week ending 31 May its total value was about £2.78bn, up from £2.52bn on-year.

KAZ PLUNGES AS IT BUMPS UP BAIMSKAYA BUDGET

While in the FTSE 250, the biggest mover was copper miner KAZ Minerals (KAZ), which plunged 8.45% to 455p after it bumped up the budget needed to build its Baimskaya project in Russia to $7bn.

Having initially estimated capex of $5.5bn, KAZ said the increase was due to more detailed costings during the bankable feasibility study on the project, as well as drilling results which showed a potential increase in the project’s mineral resources.

The Kazakhstan-based firm said the timetable for construction remains around seven years, despite delays to the feasibility study and drilling as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

BIFFA SCRAPS DIVI DESPITE DOUBLING PROFIT

Waste management company Biffa (BIFF) fell 4.7% to 250p after it cancelled its final dividend to conserve cash, even as it reported profit that more than doubled, driven by ‘strong’ performance in its collections business and higher margins.

For the 52 weeks ended 27 March 2020, pre-tax profit jumped to £56.4m from £21.5m on-year as revenue increased 6% to £1.15bn. Operating margin climbed to 7.8% from 7.5%.

‘Revenue for the period of lockdown were down 30% versus pre-Covid levels, but the group saw an early stabilisation of these trends and in recent weeks we have seen increases in revenues, with revenue levels in both I&C and landfill operations now down about 40% from pre-Covid levels,’ the company said.

WORKSPACE HIKES DIVI AFTER RENTAL BOOST

Shared office space group Workspace (WKP) gained 2.1% to 806.5p after it hiked its annual dividend by 10%, following a boost in rental income which underpinned a rise in adjusted profit.

The company declared a total dividend for the year through March of 36.16p per share, up from 32.87p on-year, including a final dividend of 24.49p.

Pre-tax profit almost halved to £72.5m, down from £137.3m, owing to a 0.3% reduction in underlying property valuation compared to a £61m increase in the prior year. Trading profit after interest rose 12% to £81m driven by a 10% increase in net rental income to £122m.

OTHER COMPANY NEWS

Oil and gas producer Premier Oil (PMO) surged over 10% to 35p after it agreed a discounted price of $210m for its planned acquisition of the Andrew area and Shearwater assets in the North Sea from BP.

Cocktail bar group Revolution Bars (RBG) tumbled 25% to 25.7p as it launched an equity raising of up to £15m to cut debt and help it weather the coronavirus crisis. New shares in the company were being offered at 20p each.

The raising was conditional on the company cancelling trading of its shares on the main board of the London Stock Exchange and switching to an AIM listing.

Engineering services company Wood Group (WG.) jumped 5.5% to 234.7p as it said it was targeting a 40% reduction in its carbon emissions by 2030. The company said it had to set a ‘science-based target’ to reduce its scope one and two greenhouse gas emissions over that time period, using 2019 figures as a baseline.

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Issue Date: 05 Jun 2020