UK stocks continued their advance on Thursday after the Bank of England kept interest rates close to zero while noting inflation was likely to top its 2% expectation but only 'temporarily'.

The nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to keep rates on hold, while the vote to maintain its £875 billion bond-buying programme was nodded through by eight votes to one.

By 12.30pm the benchmark FTSE 100 was up 35 points or 0.5% to 7,109 points, led by house builders and consumer-related stocks.

AROUND THE MARKET

On the company news front, Crest Nicholson (CRST) swung to a half-year profit and reinstated its dividend. Shares rallied 3.4% to 445p.

That appeared to inspire renewed interest across the sector with Berkeley (BKG) topping the FTSE 100 leaderboard a day after its prelims, which caused a pause for breath among investors. The shares were up 2.4% at £47.30, with Barratt Developments (BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.) not far behind.

Shares in drug developer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) were flat at  £14.08 after it set out plans to turn its consumer healthcare arm into a separately listed company, in a move that will deliver an £8 billion windfall and other financial benefits for its underperforming drugs business.

Bid target St. Modwen Properties (SMP) increased 0.5% to 554p after it backed the latest sweetened buyout offer by private equity firm Blackstone, which values the property firm at £1.25 billion.

Major shareholder Aviva Investors said it had sided with the board in accepting the higher offer.

Online-only building materials retailer CMO Stores unveiled plans to list shares on the UK stock market on Thursday, although precious little information is known at this point. The business was founded in 2008 and sells 75,000-odd products to trade and domestic customers.

OTHER NEWS

Distribution and services group Bunzl’s (BNZL) shares rose 2% to £24.27 on expectations of a 1% rise in first-half revenue.

The company has seen a strong recovery in demand from foodservice and retail sectors was largely offset by the anticipated decline in larger Covid-19 related orders.

Allergy Therapeutics’ (AGY) shares climbed 2.4% to 25.2p as it said it expected annual operating profit to be ‘well ahead’ of market expectations, driven by sales growth and lower costs.

Wood Group’s (WG.) like for like revenue for the six months ended 30 June 2021 was down 21% when compared with same period in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Shares fell 4% to 220p.

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Issue Date: 24 Jun 2021