FTSE lower at midday

Fri, 3rd Jul 2020

UK stocks turned negative midday Friday as optimism based on an easing of lockdowns was tempered by surging Covid-19 cases in the US and other global hotspots. At 12:00, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 0.8% at 6,192. Telematics group Trakm8 revved 24% higher to 21p on sealing a fleet optimisation contract with a 'major UK food retailer' that had been expected in March but was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Online contracts-for-difference brokerage CMC Markets jumped 19.5% to 337p on announcing that it expected its performance to beat market expectations as solid client trading activity continued in the first quarter. Litigation financing group Manolete Partners rallied 6.7% to 544p, after it posted a 59% rise in annual profit and doubled its dividend on an increased insolvency case load. Plastic and fibre products maker Essentra surged 6.6% to 312p despite seeing like-for-like revenue slump 9% in the first half. Essentra, however, said it expected an improving sales trend seen in the second quarter to continue into the third. Broker and investment bank Numis firmed 2.6% to 320p after revealing that its quarterly revenue had increased materially compared to the previous two quarters. Bingo hall and casino group Rank gained 1.9% to 148p, even as it warned that its annual profit would be at the bottom end of its guidance range, due to costs associated with reopening its venues. Rank will start reopening Mecca bingo venues in England from Saturday, but said some may not open again, pending an assessment of the viability of 12 sites. Footwear retailer Shoe Zone was stomped 2.6% higher to 80p as it announced that finance director Jonathan Fearn had resigned and would be replaced by Peter Foot. The aptly-named Foot was most recently interim finance director at British Sugar and had also worked at Associated British Foods. Renewable energy asset investor Octopus Renewables added 0.4% to 112.7p after it reaffirmed its dividend guidance, citing visibility of contracted revenue and its investment pipeline. Mining company Rio Tinto lost 1.4% to £44.8, having warned of increased costs, delays and reserves downgrades owing to a redesign of its huge Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project in Mongolia. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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