London’s FTSE 100 was 0.5% firmer at 7,050.56 points early on Thursday following after a rebound in the US and another dip for Asian equities overnight.

A flurry of positive corporate news and decent US data overnight outweighed lingering concerns about the Chinese economy, which dragged down the miners and other companies with links to China such as luxury brand Burberry (BRBY), off 2.75% to £17.31.


Equipment rental giant Ashtead (AHT) advanced 3.3% to £60.46 after raising its outlook on full year performance following ‘strong’ first quarter results. The forecast for annual revenue was raised to a range of 13% to 16% from 6% to 9% previously.

For the three months to July 2021, pre-tax profit powered 74% higher to $416 million year-on-year as revenue increased 21% to £1.85 billion.

Home improvement retailer Wickes (WIX) rose 4.7% to 243.2p on news it now anticipates annual adjusted pre-tax profits to come in towards the upper end of analyst expectations range of £67 million-to-£75 million after swinging to a first half profit amid ‘buoyant’ demand from local tradesmen and underpinned by strong digital sales.

The upgrade to the outlook was supported by the ‘strong outlook for Core and DIFM trends, together with half year results which delivered adjusted pre-tax profit £1.5 million ahead of guidance’, said Wickes.

Drinks group C&C (CCR) fizzed 4.25% higher to 235.6p on the news the Bulmers, Magners and Tennent’s maker has returned to profit ahead of plan following the gradual easing of restrictions and phased reopening of the hospitality sector across Ireland and the UK during the first half of the fiscal year.

C&C assured that while it is seeing general upward pressure on input costs and in its distribution business amid industry wide capacity constraints, its exposure to commodity inflation is largely mitigated through long-term supply contracts and partnerships and it remains ‘on track with the initiatives to deliver the €18 million in annualised cost savings announced in May 2021’.

Also in demand was online trading brokerage IG (IGG), bid up 4.5% to 869p after the online trading brokerage reported a rise in first quarter adjusted revenue, as slowing client growth was offset by a boost from the recently-acquired tastytrade.


E-commerce firm THG (THG) tumbled 5.9% to 601p, despite reporting rapid-fire first half growth, as investors were unsettled by plans for a separate listing of its beauty division next year, with the company also trailing a divvying up of its nutrition arm and Ingenuity technology and logistics platform too.

Elsewhere, fashion retailer Superdry (SDRY) strutted 8.25% higher to 308.5p after posting narrower annual losses as the reopening of stores and cost cuts helped offset a pandemic-led fall in revenue.

‘Trading has been encouraging since the reopening of our stores, and we’ll take a big step forward as a brand with the opening of our global flagship store in Oxford Street later in the Autumn,’ said the company.

Online fashion retailer ASOS (ASC:AIM) softened 0.4% to £30.53 despite setting out a comprehensive plan to achieve a new set of stretching ESG goals by 2030.

High-flying fantasy miniatures maker Games Workshop (GAW) cheapened 6.3% to £109 as it said that performance for the three months to 29 August 2021 was in line with the board’s expectations.

‘Sales continue to grow but, as with other businesses, we have seen pressure on freight costs and currency exchange rates,’ cautioned the company.

Law firm Keystone Law (KEYS:AIM) clipped ahead 7.6% to 820p on news it expects annual performance to materially exceed market expectations after reporting a jump in first half profit.


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Issue Date: 16 Sep 2021