Global markets regained some composure after Friday’s sell-off caused by the emergence of a new virus strain Omicron which has reached at least 12 countries.

Some calm was reinstalled after vaccine makers said they could make new formulae to combat the new virus strain within weeks.

Asian markets steadied with China’s SE Composite almost flat and Japan’s Nikkei 225 index losing 1.6%. Meanwhile commodities rallied with Brent Crude gaining almost 5% to $76.2 per barrel.

US futures were indicating gains around 0.7% for the benchmark S&P 500 index.

UK markets were given a boost after British Telecom (BT.A) shares surged 9% to 167.9p on rumours of a takeover.

At 9am the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was 0.7% higher at 7,090.

TAKEOVER MONDAY

Shares in British Telecom (BT.A) surged 9% higher to 167.9p after reports that Indian oil-to-telecoms group Reliance Industries, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani was eyeing a takeover offer for he company.

French alternative telecom group Altice has been building a stake in BT and holds 12% of the company which potentially creates a bidding war for the UK firm.

Shares in retail car group Marshall Motor (MMH:AIM) surged 45% higher to 396p after the company’s board agreed a 400p cash offer from a wholly-owned subsidiary of Constellation Automotive Holdings.

The offer values the firm at £322.9 million and represents a premium of 41.3% to Friday’s closing price.

Venture Capital company specialising in high growth digital technology businesses Molten Ventures (GROW) said first half pre-tax profit jumped to £247.5 million from £53.6 million year-on-year as total income jumped to £262.0 million from £62.4 million.

Formerly known as Draper Esprit, the company was recently included in the FTSE 250 market segment and post period end has deployed £36 million in new investments including an investment in Satellite Vu, a British start-up using satellite technology to determine valuable insights into economic activity, energy efficiency and carbon footprint.

Net asset value per share increased to 887 pence from 743 pence as at   31 March 2021. The shares gained 4.6% to 915p.

Intellectual property-based businesses owner IP Group (IPO) said it had generated a gain of about £27.4 million, or 3p per share following a funding round completed by one of its portfolio companies.

The company had committed about £5 million to the funding round and, following completion of the first close, has an undiluted beneficial holding of 29.0%. The shares added 3.6% to 116p.

Aquaculture company Benchmark Holdings (BMK:AIM) said fourth quarter revenues increased 51% in constant currencies to £37.3 million while adjusted operating profit was 35% higher at £3.5 million.

For the full year ended 30 September revenues were 18.5% ahead to £125.1 million and operating profit was 37% higher at £10.8 million.

All business areas contributed to strong fourth quarter growth with genetics up 35% driven by higher sales of salmon eggs and harvest income while the advanced nutrition division grew 49% in constant currencies.

Health revenues jumped 215% in constant currencies benefiting from sales from Ectosan Vet and CleanTreat.

The company said current trading was inline with expectations for the 2022 financial year. The shares dipped 0.8% to 62p.

ENERGY BOOST

Irn Bru and Funkin brands soft drinks company AG Barr (BAG) said it expected full year profit to be ahead of current market expectations after strong performance in both ‘on-the-go’ and hospitality sectors.

The company said despite a challenging supply chain environment its production and wider supply chain had ‘maintained their resilience’ and supported growth in volumes. The shares jumped 4% to 486.5p.

Shares in cancer therapies and diagnostics company Avacta (AVCT:AIM) leapt 6% higher to 127.3p after the company said it received approval from the US health regulator the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for its investigational new chemotherapy drug AVA6000.

The approval will allow the company to start clinical trials in the US expected to start in early 2022.

A list of FTSE 100 index movers can be seen HERE

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Issue Date: 29 Nov 2021