Despite it being a quiet day for corporate news, the FTSE 100 surged 105.7 points higher to 7,613.4 on Friday, clawing back a good portion of the losses seen in recent days on the spread of the deadly coronavirus in and increasingly beyond China.
The World Health Organisation’s decision not to designate the outbreak an international emergency had a restorative effect on the markets. Nearly every constituent of the FTSE 100 index was in positive territory early on save for takeaway firm Just Eat (JE.), which faces a competition authorities probe into its takeover by Takeaway.com that could potentially nix the deal.
Pub operator and brewer business Marston’s (MARS) was marked down 6.7% to 109.3p, despite reporting a resilient performance across its pubs and beer division over the 16 weeks to 18 January 2020 with ‘strong’ trading over the Christmas fortnight. However, analysts downgraded full year earnings estimates due to a higher than expected increase in the Living Wage as well as higher disposals.
Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank owner Virgin Money UK (VMUK) improved 5% to 174.9p after announcing that the long-serving Jim Pettigrew plans to retire as chairman by September 2021 in line with good corporate governance practice, and the hunt for his successor is underway.
Geoscience products and services specialist Getech (GTC:AIM) slumped 22% lower to 20p on a 2019 profit warning caused by delays to several major deals amid volatile conditions in the oil and gas exploration industry.
Shore Capital said the partnership ‘increases OnTheMarket’s momentum and growth potential in a potentially lucrative market and complements similar agreements recently struck with Barratt Developments (BDEV) and Persimmon (PSN) that together cover over 700 developments’.
Super budget branded hotels operator easyHotel (EZH:AIM) cheapened 0.5p to 87p, despite outperforming a challenging market on a like-for-like basis during the year to September 2019, as investors focused on a lurch into loss that included a £3m write-down of its Ipswich hotel.
Intellectual property play Tekcapital (TEK:AIM) ticked 3.7% higher to 6.35p on the news portfolio company Salarius has secured a supply deal with food ingredient broker Hanks Brokerage. Salarius, which is 97.5% owned by Tekcapital, will provide its low-sodium salt product to snack food companies in the southwestern US.