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FTSE creeps lower as caution prevails ahead of US earnings season

Mon, 12th Apr 2021

UK stocks ended Monday's session in the red as the reopening of shops and pubs failed to generate much of a market reaction. Caution prevailed as many investors decided to hold off on any big decisions as first quarter earnings season picks up pace in the US. London's blue chip benchmark index finished 0.39% lower at 6,889.12 points, with the FTSE 250 off 0.44% at 22,153.55 points. Shopping centre owner Hammerson cheapened 3.2% to 36.2p after it confirmed press speculation that it was in talks about a possible sale of its retail parks portfolio to Brookfield. Pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca edged 0.8% higher to £72.32 after it said its diabetes drug Farxiga did not improve the condition of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 in a clinical trial. Mining giant BHP fell 1.3% to £21.23 on confirming that its Samarco joint venture in Brazil with Vale had filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to agree terms on a debt restructure. The joint venture is facing legal action following the collapse of a tailings dam in 2015 that killed 19 people and polluted waterways. Tobacco giant Imperial Brands added 0.8% to £15.54 on announcing that Lukas Paravicini would join as chief financial officer earlier than expected, on 19 May. Freight manager Xpediator rallied 4% to 59p as it hiked its divided on the back of an 81% rise in annual profit, and said it had performed ahead of expectations in the 2021 first quarter. Xpediator declared a full-year dividend of 1.5p per share, up 13% year-on-year. German business park investor Sirius Real Estate edged 1.1% higher to 95p as its annual rent roll rose 7.6% and it collected more than 98% of rent due for the year. Student accommodation provider Unite improved 0.7% to £10.91 on announcing that 73% of rooms were now reserved for the 2021/22 academic year across its entire portfolio. Unite said the deficit in sales to the prior year was continuing to narrow over recent weeks. Brake-disc manufacturer Surface Transforms reversed 4.1% to 70p, having booked a full-year loss after spending on research & development offset a broadly flat revenue performance. Surface Transforms said it was targeting a full-year profit in 2022. Ingredients supplier Treatt sweetened up 10.1% to £10.55 as it said it expected to grow its first-half revenue by 14%, while also achieving an improvement in margins. Broadcast market equipment supplier The Vitec Group gained 0.9% to £11.60 after it acquired two separate companies, Lightstream and Quasar, for up to $42 million (£30.4 million). C4X Discovery jumped 7.5% to 43p after the drug developer signed an exclusive licensing deal with French drugmaker Sanofi to develop an oral therapy for treatment of inflammatory diseases. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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