UK stocks retreated on Friday after a big jump in Covid-19 cases was reported yesterday with the FTSE 100 down 0.6% at 6,300 points. A stronger pound dragged down exporters and weaker oil put pressure on energy stocks.
The pound was 0.5% higher against the US dollar at $1.31 and Brent crude prices were 1.4% lower at $40.5 per barrel. Gold prices nudged-up 0.2% to $1.880 an ounce.
Overnight trading in Asia saw China’s SE Composite fall 0.9% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 drop 0.5%.
Construction group Galliford Try (GFRD) said it expected to return to profit and resume its dividend in the first half of its fiscal year as productivity remained at near-normal levels during the second national lockdown. Shares surged 16% higher to 95.5p.
Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) said it had acquired a prime temperature controlled distribution unit in Southampton for £44.2 million with a net yield of 5.24%.The building is let to Tesco TSCO (TSCO) on a 25-year lease expiring January 2021.
The consideration will be financed through £24.2 million of existing resources and the issue of 12.1 million new shares to the seller at a price of 164.38p. Shares dropped 1% to 163p.
Hipgnosis Songs Fund (SONG) confirmed its acquisition of 50% of Rick James’ publishing interests, writers’ share, neighbouring rights and recorded masters share of income in his catalogue comprising 97 songs.
James’ album ‘Street Songs’ spent 78 weeks on the US R&B chart, including 20 weeks at Number 1, and included the global hit ‘Super Freak’. As a producer, he worked with Eddie Murphy and The Temptations.
The catalogue was acquired using proceeds from the company’s July C share fundraising. Shares gained 0.6% to 117.5p.
Schroder Oriental Income Fund (SOI) said it had increased its annual dividend again, drawing ‘modestly’ on revenue reserves to cover the 7% fall in revenue earnings per share during the year. Dividends declared by the company over the year totalled 10.3p.
It confirmed that remaining revenue reserves were equivalent to nearly eight months of the dividend at current levels. Shares dropped 1% to 242p.
The company reported that trading remained at healthy levels, across all business units and product sales, sending the shares up 3% to 6.4p.
Shares in respiratory drug discovery company Synairgen (SNG:AIM) jumped 17% higher to 118.3 after its SNG001 trial data was published in the peer-reviewed Lancet journal which showed positive results in hospitalised patients.
Iron castings and machining group Castings (CGS:AIM) said performance had gradually improved after swinging to a first-half loss as the pandemic disrupted output in the first two months of the first half of the year.
For the six months ended 30 September 2020, Castings swung to a pre-tax loss of £0.63 million, compared with a profit of £7.34 million a year earlier, as sales fell to £41.7 million from £73.1 million. Shares dipped 0.3% to 332p.