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Peter Rabbit lifts Cineworld; equities edge higher

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5pm: London higher

The FTSE 100 edged higher in line with global markets which recovered from recent falls in tech stocks.

The blue chip index advanced 0.5% to close at 7,051, while, the domestically-focused FTSE 250 added 0.4%.


9am: Cineworld boosted – but bad weather helped

Peter Rabbit 2

Judging by Cineworld’s trading update (see below), it looks like people have missed the cinema experience, resulting in a bumper weekend for visits, says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

“Cineworld doesn’t give any figures for sales or admissions, so we’re only going on the word of the management that performance was good.

“The weather was atrocious in many parts of the UK and so going to the cinema would have been a welcome relief, particularly to keep children entertained. But what happens if we finally get some good weather?

“The nation might prefer to enjoy the great outdoors and associated leisure activities, instead of sitting in a dark room with strangers and worrying about whether the ventilation system is up to scratch.”

“Cineworld’s operations span the US and parts of Europe, so it is not a pure UK story. The cinema industry is celebrating the success of Fast & Furious 9 in China over the weekend, so Cineworld will be hoping that title will be also be a blockbuster hit once released in the UK and US in late June.

“The success of the cinema is heavily dependent on the quality of the film slate and there aren’t that many big films lined up for release until later in the summer. This suggests Cineworld will still have to keep its fingers crossed that the past weekend’s trading boost wasn’t a one-off.”

The UK’s flagship index traded higher despite miners’ share prices being pulled down by falling iron ore prices as Chinese authorities warn of excessive speculation.

The FTSE 100 was trading 14 point up at 7,031.99.


7am: Cineworld – audiences return

Beatrix Potter hero Peter Rabbit helped bring movie-goers back to the big screen as Cineworld reported a bumper reopening weekend in the UK.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, was the star attraction with strong sales of concession products, said the cinema chain.

In the US 502 sites or 97% of its sites have resumed operations.

Poland and Israel reopen this week with the company anticipating most sites will be open by the end of the month.

Mooky Greidinger, chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to have our cinemas back in business in the US and UK and to welcome movie fans back to the big screen for an exciting and full slate of films.

“We are especially pleased with the warm welcome our employees have received, and the positive feedback from returning guests.

“With the releases next week of Cruella, and A Quiet Place 2, we expect next weekend’s results to be strong.

“When combined with improving consumer confidence and the success of the vaccination rollout, we expect a good recovery in attendance over the coming months, noting the record-breaking success of F9 in the Asian market.”

The group said it had received a full $203m tax refund under the US CARES Act.


7am: Boost for Saracen

AssetCo has hired Gary Collins from Columbia Threadneedle Investments to help grow Edinburgh-based Saracen Fund Managers.

Full story here


Markets

UK blue chips were expected to rise 18 points following positive performances on Asia’s main stock markets.

Consumer consumption and price data later this week will possibly decide whether America’s Federal Reserve begins tapering the ultra-accommodative monetary policy that has supported equity markets.

The continuing volatility of Bitcoin, down a further 5.1%, has resulted in a surge in demand for gold, which hit a four-month high of just shy of $1,900 an ounce before edging back slightly.

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed. The Shanghai Composite in China gained 0.18% but  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.24%

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.25% while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.37%.



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