The FTSE 100 index jumped 2.3% higher on Tuesday to 6,208 points after the U.S. Federal Reserve's move to expand its purchase of corporate bonds to contain the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic eased liquidity concerns and boosted hopes of a global economic recovery.
Meanwhile the Trump administration was said to be preparing a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal to help the economy and boost the president's chances of re-election later this year.
Asian shares were also strong with Japan’s Nikkei 225 index surging almost 5% after the Bank of Japan increased its corporate lending programme. In China the SSE composite index was 1.4% ahead.
Gold prices were slightly lower at $1,722 an ounce and the Brent Oil price was 0.3% lower at $36.9 a barrel. On the foreign exchange markets the pound was unchanged against the US dollar at $1.26.
Industrial equipment hire company Ashtead Group (AHT) said full-year rental revenues were 8% higher at £4.6bn while pre-tax profit slipped 4% to £1.1bn year-on-year. The business reported record free-cash flow of £792m.
The company proposed a final dividend of 33.5p, taking its dividend for the year to 40.65p, up from 40.0p last year. The shares surged 12% to an all-time high of £27.10.
Pre-tax profit for the year through March increased to £48.1m, up from £43.0m on-year, as revenue rose 8.9% to £875.8m. The company declared a full-year dividend of 57p per share, up 9.6% on-year. The shares nudged up 1.9% to £13.7.
Direct marketer 4imprint Group (FOUR) said a lifting of restrictions in many US states had resulted in weekly order counts steadily increasing to reach around 50% of 2019 levels. At the end of May the group had cash balances of $28.1m and no debt. The shares traded 2.2% higher to £24.7.
On-the-go food retailer Greggs (GRG) said it planned to re-open around 800 shops to take away customers from 18 June after implementing new protective measures. The plan includes 19 shops which will also offer a delivery and click and collect service. The shares pushed 3% higher to £17.00.
In a pre-close trading update, video game developer Team17 Group (TM17:AIM) said it had experienced higher-than-expected demand for its products during the Covid-19 crisis as people hunkered down at home during lockdown.
The company said it had started to see the unusually high level of demand during April and May returning to a more normal level as lockdown restrictions were eased.
It also reiterated that it had a 'solid' pipeline of new releases, weighted towards the second half of 2020. The shares ticked up 3.7% to 535p.
Revenue for the year-ended 31 March slipped 6.2% at constant currencies reflecting weakening market conditions, pushing adjusted operating profits 10% lower to £13.4m. The dividend was passed.
Premium lifestyle brand, Joules Group (JOUL:AIM) said e-commerce demand during lockdown was significantly ahead of expectations at more than 40% higher than the comparable period last year. The shares surged 9% higher to 124.8p.
Investment manager and financial adviser support group Tatton Asset Management (TAM:AIM) said pre-tax profit for the year through March increased to £10.3m, up from £6.1m on-year, as revenue climbed 22% to £21.4m. The dividend was hiked 14%.
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