London’s FTSE 100 opened higher on Wednesday with mining companies boosted by rising commodity prices buoyed by global recovery hopes.

At 08.35 am, the blue chip benchmark was up 0.8% at 6,981.24 points, having lost ground on Tuesday due to a sell-off in US tech stocks.

Miners led the charge early on, with BHP (BHP), Glencore (GLEN) and Rio Tinto (RIO) up 2.4%, 2.2% and 2.2%, respectively. Other cyclical stocks were in favour too, with construction groups CRH (CRH) and Ashtead (AHT) joining the top FTSE 100 risers.

ITV SEES STRONGER GROWTH AHEAD

Free-to-air broadcaster ITV (ITV) edged 0.2% higher to 124.5p after the company said it expects to see stronger growth in the second half of the year, having reported a 2% uptick in first quarter revenue amid an ongoing rebound in the advertising market.

Online fast-fashion retailer Boohoo (BOO:AIM) softened 3.2% to 316p, despite head-turning annual results showing sales up 41% to almost £1.75 billion and 38% adjusted pre-tax profit growth to £150 million.

The shares were marked down as the company guided for slower sales growth of 25% this year, below the 29% called for by consensus.

Boohoo also warned the benefits seen from reduced returns over the last twelve months will begin to unwind this year, said it is ‘still experiencing significantly elevated levels of carriage and freight costs’, and cautioned that investment in newly-acquired brands Oasis, Warehouse, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis will dilute margins this year.

INSURERS INCH HIGHER

Insurer Direct Line (DLG) added 0.5% to 288.3p, even as it reported a 4.7% fall in first quarter gross written premium revenue. Looking ahead, Direct Line touted ‘encouraging’ early indications that motor market premiums are stabilising.

Rival insurer Hiscox (HSX) was bid up 0.1% to 812p after posting a 6.3% rise in first quarter premium revenue.

Elsewhere, building materials group SIG (SHI) rose 4% to 49.1p after upgrading annual guidance, having achieved a stronger-than-expected start to the year, with sales in the four months to April up 29% year-on-year.

Banking group Virgin Money UK (VMUK) cheapened 7.7% to 185.2p despite swinging to a first half profit after a drop in bad debt charges offset a weaker operating income.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through March amounted to £72 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £7 million.

McBride (MCB) slumped 21% to 74p after the private-label household-to-personal care products maker warned full year profits are now expected to be around 15% lower than the previous year amid rising input costs and revenue volatility.

IN OTHER NEWS

RHI Magnesita (RHIM) sparked up 2.9% to £45.96 as the refractory products play announced a further share buyback and assured it is performing in line with market expectations, with a recovery in sales offset by supply-chain disruptions.

The company said its expectations for 2021 adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation remained in line with market forecasts, based on company-complied consensus of €310 million.

Property investor UK Commercial Property REIT (UKCM) firmed 1.7% to 78.79p as it hiked its first quarter dividend after the value of its portfolio strengthened.

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Issue Date: 05 May 2021