UK stocks ignored concerns about the country’s vaccination program and continued gains this week.
This afternoon, the drug regulator MHRA said that an alternative to medication should be offered to those under the age of 30. AstraZeneca (AZN) injection, where possible, due to concerns about the link between the vaccine and blood clots.
While this is better than an outright ban on the vaccine for children under 30, it could still affect the government’s roadmap to reduce isolation, given that the AstraZeneca vaccine accounts for about three-quarters of the total UK vaccine supply.
Sterling fell 0.4% against the dollar and 0.7% against the euro following the news, pushing the exporter-focused FTSE 100 upward, which closed 0.91% higher at 6,885.32. …
The FTSE 250 mid-cap index, which is considered more representative of the UK domestic economy, also closed 0.76% higher at 22,160.57.
Oil giant in company news Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) rose 1.4% to £ 13.74, despite the company said a Texas winter storm would wipe out up to $ 200 million in first-quarter adjusted earnings.
E&P production is expected to be between 2.4 and 2.48 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, including a 10-20,000 barrels per day decline in production due to a winter storm in Texas.
However, adjusted E&P earnings are expected to be positive, which Shell said “reflects the upside potential of the current commodity price environment.”
Bickering with Fox Corp over controversial FanDuel stake pressuring gaming group Flutter Entertainment (FLTR)which was one of the biggest losers on the FTSE 100, falling 1.3% to £ 155.35.
Low cost airline Ryanair (RYA) rose 0.3% to € 16.85, despite warning that some analysts’ forecasts predicting it will return to profit next year were overly optimistic, blaming them for the slow rollout of coronavirus vaccinations across Europe.
Ryanair said: “While it is not currently possible to give a meaningful profit forecast for the full year of 2022, we do not share the recent optimism of some analysts,” adding that the company expects to break even. According to Bloomberg, this compares to a profit of 277 million euros after deducting tax analysts.
Food delivery platform Deliveroo (ROO) rose 2.1% to 286p after passengers and drivers brushed aside the threat of a strike over pay and terms as restrictions on trading its stock came to an end, giving retail investors their first chance to trade.
MORE CANCELED CRUISES
Cruise operator Carnival (CCL) rose 5.4% to £ 17.99 despite the cancellation of additional cruises and an extension of the current suspension of all operations from US ports through June.
Pension business Saga (SAGA), also a major cruise operator, jumped more than 11.4% to 388.2p, despite an 84% drop in profits due to Covid. Investors remain hopeful that tourism operations will resume this year, and were quieted by a September request for £ 150 million in funding.
Pub owner Marston (MARS) rose 1.9% to 101.2p after the company made reopening recommendations, including around 70%, or around 700, of UK-operated and franchised open-air pubs that will open around April 12th.
Marston’s also confirmed that it has secured the waiver of financial agreements with its bank, private placement and securitized lines of credit for financial periods up to and including January 1, 2022.
Food packaging Hilton food (HFG) rose 2.9% to £ 11.50, raising dividends following the announcement of full-year profit, which rose for the quarter on the back of stronger sales in Australia. Hilton announced a final dividend of 19p per share, bringing the total dividend for 2020 to 26p, up 22% from the same period last year.
Chemical company Croda (CRDA) The shares fell 0.4% to £ 63.86 amid news that its perfume and fragrance subsidiary Iberchem has agreed to acquire Parfex, a perfume business based in Grasse, France, for 45 million euros.
Equipment lease group Bn (VP.) traded at 860p after the company announced a recovery in revenue to 95% from pre-Covid levels since the December 7 interim results were posted.
Restaurant owner Tasty (TASTE: PURPOSE) rebounded to 2.5% to 6.15p, initially falling more than 13% earlier in the day, after posting a deeper annual loss after Covid-19 restrictions nearly halved sales.
Tasty’s pre-tax losses for the year to December 27 were £ 12.6m, compared with a loss of £ 0.27m year-over-year as revenues fell 46% to £ 24.2m.
Date of issue: 07 Apr 2021