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Asos profits surge; Lookers ahead of plan

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4.30pm: London closes higher

The FTSE 100 closed at 6,942.22, up 56.90 (0.83%).


Noon: Phoenix launches VC fund

Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, has launched its first dedicated venture capital fund to invest in disruptive and early stage businesses.

Full story here


9am: Markets rebound

The FTSE 100 is rebuilding momentum and is within striking distance of 7,000, trading 23.3 points higher at 6,908.63.

After its record close on Wednesday, the FTSE 250 opened 18.45 points higher at 22,179.55.

Shares in online fashion retailer ASOS (see below) edged 2.4% higher in the early exchanges.


8am: LumiraDx to list, expands in Scotland

A London-based point of care diagnostics testing company, which has announced a $5 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition corporation, has doubled its footprint at the Maxim Park office complex in Lanarkshire.

Full story here


7am: Asos

ASOS

Online fashion retailer indicated the gulf with bricks and mortar shops by reporting a 275% surge in adjusted half year profit to £112.9 million (2020: £30.1m). Total sales grew 25% to £1.97bn.

The company added 1.5 million customers in the first six month of the year to 28 February, taking the total to 24.9m.

It said the integration of Topshop brands, acquired from Sir Philip Green’s collapsed Arcadia group, was progressing to plan.

Danish billionaire and Scottish landowner Anders Holch Povlsen is the biggest shareholder in ASOS and bought Topshop in a cut-price deal in February.


Lookers

Despite the restrictions, Q1 trading performance at the car dealer’s showrooms was better than expected.

The group sold over 44,000 (2020: 49,000) new and used vehicles which, combined with the resilient aftersales performance and strong control of costs, has led to Q1 performance being ahead of board expectations. 

Lookers significantly outperformed the UK retail market with flat like-for-like unit sales, achieving a market share of circa 7%.

The board said its expectation for underlying profit before tax for the full year ended 31 December 2021 is now materially ahead of the current analyst consensus.


Markets

The FTSE 100 closed up nearly 62 points at 6,885 while domestically-focused midcap FTSE 250 stole the limelight by surging as high as 22,177 before closing 166 points ahead at 22,160.

Shopping centre owner Hammerson soared 6.8% higher, and Upper Crust owner SSP gained 6.5% ahead of the reopening of non-essential shops.

The US markets were mixed as the S&P 500 hit another record high, rising 0.1% and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by the same margin. The Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific were similarly mixed. The Shanghai composite declined 0.26% at the opening, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.14%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.34%.



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