UK stocks closed on a positive note with the FTSE 100 index ending 1.3% higher at 7,470 points and the FTSE 250 Index firming 1% to 21,873 points at the bell.

Brent crude futures hit $90 per barrel for the time since 2014, fueling concerns over inflationary pressures and the need to further raise UK interest rates. Goldman Sachs recently increased its oil price forecast to $100 per barrel.

However, the positive mood in London markets was echoed across the Atlantic as US stocks rallied ahead of the Federal Reserve's keenly-awaited policy update.

Shortly after the market open the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved 1.3% higher, the S&P 500 jumped 1.8% and the Nasdaq Composite firmed by 2.6%.


Travel shares were in favour with British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) up 7% to 158p and TUI (TUI) surging 5.5% to 259p.

Heading the other way, shares in Fresnillo PLC (FRES) plunged 14.5% to 687p after the precious metals miner missed silver production targets and warned 2022 would be lower than last year.

Silver production of 53.1mln ounces in 2021 was below expectations of 53.5mln-59.5mln although gold production of 751,200 ounces, while down 2.4% on 2020, was ahead of guidance of 675,000 to 725,000 ounces.

With the pandemic hitting its workforce and new labour laws in Mexico limiting the use of contractors, the company forecast lower production this year of 50.5mln to 56.5mln ounces of silver and 600,000 to 650,000 ounces of gold.

Gambling software group Playtech (PTEC) dropped 6.8% to 597p after it reiterated its support for a £2.7 billion bid for the company by Aristocrat Leisure amid speculation it could explore alternatives if shareholders block the deal.

Sky News reported the company was drawing up contingency plans to break up the company and sell its operations if the takeover by Aristocrat was blocked by some Asian-based shareholders.

Enterprise software group Sage (SGE) fell 6.4% to 713p on announcing first-quarter revenue rose 5%, putting it on track to meet its annual guidance.

Sage's revenue for the three months through December increased to £458 million from £435 million the previous year.

Things went from bad to worse for gift wrap designer and maker IG Design (IGR:AIM) as a warning over supply chain squeezes, costs increases and lower sales sparked a huge reaction from investors.

Shares in the company more than halved in the wake of its latest announcement, falling almost 58% to 107p.

Wealth manager M&G (MNG) added 0.7% to 214.5p amid news that it had partnered with digital investment specialist Moneyfarm to provide direct investment services to UK consumers.

M&G said its UK wealth management arm would use Moneyfarm's existing technology, digital capabilities and investment guidance to back its own branded proposition.

Fellow wealth manager Brewin Dolphin (BRW) firmed 1% to 328p after it reported a 3.7% rise in first-quarter funds under management, buoyed by net inflows.

However, rival firm Quilter (QLT) fell 9% to 130p despite announcing that assets under management rose 13% last year thanks to fresh inflows and positive market movements.

Budget carrier Wizz Air (WIZZ) drifted 0.1% to £42.50 after it booked a deeper third-quarter loss as the Omicron variant put pressure on travel markets.

Wizz Air's net losses for the three months through December were €267.5 million, though the red ink partly owed to ramped up spending as the company prepared for a return to more normal conditions.

Pet products and veterinary services group Pets at Home (PETS) rose 2.7% to 420p, having upgraded its annual profit guidance after third-quarter revenues grew 5.8% year-on-year.

Pets at Home's underlying pre-tax profit for the year through March, excluding any potential impact from accounting changes, was now expected to rise to at least £140 million.

Online trading platform CMC Markets (CMCX) added 3.6% to 237.5p on reaffirming that its net operating income would be in-line with guidance as momentum continued in the third quarter.

Bus and train group Stagecoach (SGC) fell 1.6% to 90p after it postponed the sale of its inter-city coach businesses due to a regulatory enforcement order related to its proposed merger with  rival operator National Express (NEX).

The Competition and Markets Authority issued an interim order preventing either company from selling material UK assets while it probes the deal.

Crude producer Tullow Oil (TLW) edged up  0.2% to 57p despite annual production and revenue both declining following lower output from wells in Ghana.

Tullow Oil also released broad-ranging production guidance for 2022 with a midpoint below its output in 2021.

Concrete levelling technology group Somero Enterprises (SOM:AIM) firmed 4.6% to 560p, having again upgraded its annual earnings and revenue guidance amid a robust performance in the US.

However, the firm also forecast flat earnings in 2022 due to higher investment spending, including staff additions.

Document and data management group Restore (RST:AIM) rallied 5% to 477p as it upgraded its annual guidance, citing positive organic growth, efficiency gains and a contribution from eight acquisitions.




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Issue Date: 26 Jan 2022