UK stocks closed in positive territory on Friday, capping a strong 5% rebound from the previous week. The monthly jobs report from the US showed a strengthened labour market with jobs increasing by 638,000 in October, above the 580,000 estimate complied by economists.

Meanwhile Joe Biden was tantalisingly close to being crowned the 46th President of the US.

At 4:35pm the FTSE 100 index was a smidgen higher, trading up 0.35 points at 5,907.

NEWS ROUND-UP

Table-top fantasy miniatures company Games Workshop (GAW) said on Friday afternoon that trading since its last update in September was ahead of the board’s expectations, sending the shares up 5.6% to a new all-time high of £14.35.

Pre-tax profit for the six-months to 29 November is estimated by the firm to be not less than £80 million, up 36.5% year-on-year.

Late on Friday racing car games developer and publisher Codemasters Group (CDM:AIM)  said it had received a non-binding takeover proposal from  US listed Take-Two Interactive Software at 485p a share, comprising 120p per share in cash and 365p in shares.

The board intends to unanimously recommend the offer to shareholders. Codemasters shares closed up 8% to 470p.

After yesterday’s excitement in insurer RSA (RSA), when the company revealed it had been approached a month ago by a consortium of investors with a cash bid of 685p per share compared with prevailing share price of 460p, pushing the shares up 45% to 670p in afterhours trading, investors seemed more circumspect on Friday with the shares falling 2.4% to 653.9p.

Meanwhile fellow insurer Beazley (BEZ) posted an upbeat AGM statement with gross written premiums for the nine months to September up 16% to £2.53 billion thanks largely to a 14% hike in renewal prices. Shares added 1.7% to 310p.

Premier Foods (PFD) announced it had sold its stake in bread-maker Hovis to private equity firm Endless in a £37 million deal, which it said would strengthen the group's financial position as it continues to improve its leverage profile. Shares rose 2% to 105.8p.

Alongside its joint venture partner, the Gores Group, the group has held a 49% minority interest in Hovis since April 2014. Under Gores and Premier Foods' ownership, Hovis has undergone major supply chain restructuring.

Shares in budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) dropped 3% to 530.2p after it said it expected to fly no more than 20% of planned capacity for the fiscal first quarter of 2021 following lockdowns in England, Germany, and France.

The company also said it would sell and leaseback a further eleven aircraft with two counterparties, generating proceeds of $169.5 million, or approximately £130.7 million.

Engineering and industrial software Aveva (AVV) said it would launch a rights issue to raise gross proceeds of approximately £2.835 billion to partly fund the acquisition of OSIsoft, a global leader in real-time industrial data software and services. Shares fell 2.6% to £40.5.

Shares in drug maker AstraZeneca (AZN) dipped 0.6%% to £84.7 despite news that its Brilinta drug was approved in the US to reduce the risk of stroke or death in patients with acute ischemic stroke or high-risk transient ischaemic attack.

The approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was based on positive results from the THALES Phase III trial that showed aspirin plus Brilinta 90mg significantly reduced the rate of the composite of stroke and death compared to aspirin alone in patients with acute ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack.

HgCapital Trust (HGT) said it had invested about £20m in Gen II Fund Services, a private equity fund administrator.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed and closing of the transaction was conditional on customary anti-trust and regulatory approvals, the company said. Shares added 4% to 303p.

Shares in Marine services company James Fisher and Sons (FSJ) cratered 25% to 813.6p after the company warned on profit and performance fell short of its expectations in the third quarter amid ongoing challenges.

The company expects underlying operating profit for the full year, before separately disclosed items, to be in the range of £35m-to-£40m against consensus expectations of around £50 million and a prior-yer figure of £66.3 million.

 

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Issue Date: 06 Nov 2020