London’s FTSE 100 made some decent gains by lunchtime on Monday after a volatile morning as rising commodity prices and a $101 billion injection into China’s financial system eventually lifted the index.

However, weighing on UK stocks were further falls in travel companies, as investors continued to digest new quarantine restrictions placed on European travelers.

The UK’s benchmark index rose 0.55% to 6,123.76 by around 12.30pm.

Among the mining titans, Rio Tinto (RIO) ticked up 1.7% to £47.84, BHP (BHP) also caught a bid, adding 1.3% to trade at £18.40, while Anglo American (AAL) advanced 2.2% to £19.20, following a rise in various commodity prices.

British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) dropped 3% to 188.6p as investors continued to digest new quarantine restrictions placed on European travellers.

CRANSWICK JUMPS ON HOME CONSUMPTION SHIFT

Elsewhere, pork-to-poultry processor Cranswick (CWK) fattened up 6.4% to £40.70 on a meaty first quarter trading update that confirmed very strong trading, with like-for-like growth of 19.2% over the 13 weeks to 27 June, underpinned by the shift in food consumption to the home during the pandemic.

Despite some concerns around the long-term economic impact from Covid-19, Cranswick’s outlook for the year to 27 March 2021 is now said to be ahead of previous expectations, prompting Shore Capital to upgrade its full year pre-tax profit forecast by 10.4% to £116 million.

Infrastructure group Costain (COST) cheapened 3.7% to 55.4p, despite flagging underlying trading has been profitable in the first half in the face of the ‘significant challenges resulting from COVID-19’, as the company delayed its half-year results.

Costain also guided towards a first half operating profit, before the A465 and Peterborough & Huntingdon contracts, of £5.7 million, significantly down from last year’s level.

BATM TO REINSTATE DIVIDEND

BATM Advanced Communications (BVC) bounced 2.9% higher to 125.5p as the company posted excellent results for the first half to June, while also upgrading guidance and reinstating its dividend policy for 2020.

For the full year, the networking and cyber and bio-medical solutions specialist’s total sales are now expected to be up by 32%, ahead of market expectations updated in June, while EBITDA is expected to increase by a forecast-busting 48%.

Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk (POG) advanced 5.7% to 33.35p on the appointment of Maksim Meshcheriakov as its interim chief executive following a boardroom shake-up.

Fellow mining company Polymetal International (POLY) rose 1.9% to £20.15 after it said some key equipment had been installed at the POX-2 construction site in Russia on schedule.

Healthcare provider Totally (TLY:AIM) improved 9.7% to 19.75p as the company announced £7.5 million worth of contract extensions, including 12-month extensions for services provided at Urgent Treatment Centres in Greater London.

Cyber security minnow Falanx (FLX:AIM) surged 18.1% higher to 1.86p after bagging a contract with ‘one of the major suppliers of services to the UK public sector’.

Falanx will provide its recently launched Triarii platform to several UK public sector organisations through a new reseller partnership. ‘Whilst the immediate recurring revenues are relatively modest at this stage, these are expected to grow over time,’ insisted the company.

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Issue Date: 17 Aug 2020