Reopening hopes sustain FTSE gains despite AstraZeneca jab concerns

Wed, 7th Apr 2021

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.9% at 6,885.32 as investors were buoyed by optimism about a restructuring of the economy despite news under-30s in the UK will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab due to possible blood clotting side effects. In the US the S&P 500 was modestly higher at 4,074.28 by 4.30pm UK time. Oil company Royal Dutch Shell gained 1.7% to £13.78, 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 12% higher to 390.4p. Fellow cruise operator Carnival rose 5.6% to £18.03, despite cancelling additional cruises and extending current suspensions of all operations from US ports through June. Pub owner Marston's gained 1.9% to 101.2p 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 2.9% to £11.50, 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 down 0.4% to £63.86 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 was flat at 860p 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 reversed earlier losses to trade 2.5% higher at 6.15p despite 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. At market close: (LON:CRDA) Croda International PLC share price was 0p at 6218p (LON:HFG) Hilton Food Group PLC share price was 0p at 1156p (LON:MARS) Marstons PLC share price was 0p at 64.35p (LON:RDSB) Royal Dutch Shell PLC share price was 0p at 1115p (LON:SAGA) Saga share price was 0p at 185.2p Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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