FTSE makes solid gains as UK services sector rebounds

Wed, 7th Apr 2021

The FTSE 100 continued to enjoy a post-Easter bounce, up 0.8% to 6,876.49 by midday as the UK services sector rebounded and business optimism increased. Oil company Royal Dutch Shell gained 0.7% to £13.65, even as it said a winter storm in Texas would wipe up to $200 million from its adjusted first-quarter earnings. Over-50s travel and insurance provider Saga booked a full-year loss after its revenue slumped and it wrote down the value of its cruise assets. However a better than expected cash performance helped the shares 8.3% higher to 377.4p. Fellow cruise operator Carnival rose 4.2% to £17.78, despite cancelling additional cruises and extending current suspensions of all operations from US ports through June. Pub owner Marston's gained 1.6% to 100.9p after it gave reopening guidance, including for around 70%, or about 700, of its managed and franchised pubs in England with outdoor spaces to reopen on or around 12 April. Marston's also confirmed that it had secured financial covenant waivers to its bank, private placement and securitised facilities for the financial periods up to and including 1 January 2022. Food packing business Hilton Food climbed 2.5% to £11.46, having hiked its dividend after reporting that annual profit that grew by quarter amid volume growth in Australia. Hilton declared a final dividend of 19p per share, bringing total dividends for 2020 to 26p, up 22% year-on-year. Chemicals company Croda was flat at £64.10 on news its fragrances and flavours subsidiary, Iberchem, had agreed to acquire Parfex, a fine fragrance business based in Grasse, France, for €45 million. Equipment rental group Vp added 4.1% to 895p after it announced that its revenues recovered to 95% of pre-Covid levels since its interim results were issued on 7 December. Restaurant owner Tasty slid 14% to 5.2p, having posted a deeper annual loss after Covid-19 restrictions almost halved sales. Tasty's pre-tax losses for the year through 27 December amounted to £12.6 million, compared to losses of £0.27 million year-on-year, as revenue dropped 46% to £24.2 million. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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