FTSE finishes higher as lockdowns are relaxed

Mon, 1st Jun 2020

London's FTSE 100 finished the first trading session of the new month in positive territory as companies continued to restart operations and open stores as lockdowns eased, offsetting tensions caused by rioting in the US as well as a resurgence of Brexit concerns. At 16.35, the blue chip benchmark closed up 94.94 points, or 1.56%, at 6,171.54. LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Associated British Foods gained 8.5% to £19.77 on announcing that its discount clothing retailer Primark would re-open all its stores in England on 15 June. London West End property investor Shaftesbury edged 1.5% higher to 636.5p as Capital & Counties Properties agreed to buy a 26.3% stake in the company from Hong Kong billionaire Samuel Tak Lee for £436m. Shaftesbury said legal action brought by Lee against the company related to a previous equity raising had been withdrawn. Construction company Balfour Beatty cheapened 2% to 245.5p after cancelling its dividend, having previously placed it under review. On a more positive note, Balfour Beatty said its order book at the end of April was worth £17.4bn, up more than 20% on the year-end position. German property investor Sirius Real Estate fell 5.4% to 75.2p as it posted a 23% drop in annual profit, owing to lower gains on the value of its assets and higher finance expenses. The company's underlying earnings, however, increased on the back of stronger rental income and it lifted its dividend for year to 3.57c, up from 3.36c on-year, though on a lower payout ratio in the second half. Gambling software company Playtech added 3.8% to trade at 275p, having received regulatory approval to provide its casino product in the New Jersey market. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Fashion retailer Ted Baker sank 10.9% to 136.7p after it swung to a full-year loss, as sales were hit by heavy discounting blamed on weak consumer spending and a shift to online channels. Ted Baker also wrote down the value of its inventory and launched a share issue to raise £105m, pitched a heavily-discounted 75p per share. Draper Esprit gained 3.75% to 470p after Zynga agreed to acquired Istanbul-based Peak Games, which is one of the venture capital firm's underlying holdings, for $1.8bn, a sale that represents a significant return on Draper Esprit's original investment. Flooring retailer Topps Tiles gained 2% to 40.1p on announcing that it had agreed the £18.1m sale and leaseback of its head office and central warehouse buildings at Grove Park in Enderby, Leicester to UK Warehouse Properties. Auto dealer Marshall Motor was marked up 2.2% to 115p as it opened all 117 of its showrooms under revised Covid-19 operating procedures. Mineral producer Strategic Minerals jumped 13.3% to 0.68p on announcing that it had been awarded around $21.9m in damages and costs by an arbitrator, plus interest. The damages were won from the main customer of the company's Cobre magnetite operation in Nevada. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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