Shares in London stay flat in early trading on Friday, taking a breather after a strong recovery on Thursday when the FTSE 100 rose by more than 3.5%. In early deals the UK benchmark index is fractionally off about 6 points at 6,186, while the midcap FTSE 250 makes modest 7 point gains to 16,927.
A short time ago the FTSE 100 was up 10.46 points, or 0.17%, at 6,202.49. The FTSE 250 was 55.95 points higher, or 0.33%, at 16,977.90.
Overseas, yesterday's recovery on the Chinese markets continued and its main index, the Shanghai Composite, closed 4.8% higher which means that during the week shares there have fallen 7%. In the US last night shares also rose for the second day running and the Dow gained 369 points to close at 16,655. The Nasdaq added 115 points to be at 4,813 and the S&P 500 climbed 47 points to reach 1,988.
On the corporate news front, investment trust Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) jumps 3.6% to 125p along with a raft of oil producers and miners including Tullow Oil (TLW), Petrofac (PFAC), Lonmin (LMI) and Centamin (CEY) as markets in commodity hungry China post gains overnight.
China’s mainland Shenzhen index jumped 4.3% following liquidity injections into the banking system and expectations of additional infrastructure spend. Authorities in the country are also investigating what has been described in local media as ‘malicious short-selling’.
Equipment hire outfit Lavendon (LVD) leads the FTSE All-Share, gaining 7.7% to 179p as it sends out a bullish message on demand for its power access machinery. Capital expenditure on new plant is upped £20 million to £75 million in 2015 because of strong performance in Belgium, France and some parts of the Middle East.
Iconic luxury shoe specialist Jimmy Choo (CHOO) stumbles 2.6% lower to 162.30p as half-year results disappoint; like-for-like sales growth slows, hit by a tougher luxury market and the impact of temporary renovation-related store closures.
Pointing to an improved second half does not convince a sceptical market which marks PR and marketing firm Huntsworth (HNT) down 13% to 33.5p. Today's interims make for pretty grim reading with impairment of £48.8 million on its Grayling and Citigate agencies and pre-tax profits falling almost one third from £7.7 million to £5.3 million.
Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group (RTN) falls 1.8% to 666p on a soft start to the third quarter, with like-for-like sales over the last eight weeks up by just 0.4% against a period of very strong trading during July and August last year. Like-for-like sales in the first six months of the year rose by 2.5% with pre-tax profit 10% higher at £36.9 million. The group plans to open 43 to 48 restaurants this year.
Online gambling group Bwin.Party (BPTY) slips 1% to 114.1p after reporting a 7% reduction in total revenue to €296.5m in the six months to 30 June, driven by the absence of the World Cup and the introduction of VAT in several EU member states. Average daily net revenue over the last eight weeks is down 9%, but the group says it's confident about the full year due to continued mobile growth and ongoing cost savings.
Brain health specialist IXICO (IXI:AIM) leaps 10.5% to 31.5p on securing a long-term contract with an un-named pharmaceutical worth around $1 million a year. This involves a seven-year clinical trial study into neuro-degenerative disease.
Hard landscaping specialist Marshalls (MSLH) advances 6% to 335.4p after the group's half year results showed group revenue up 11% at £199.1 million while operating profit surged 41% to £22 million in the six months to the end of June.