FTSE 100 rebounds | Weir completes Motion Metrics deal
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Investors bought back into the market on the back of more favourable reports on the Omicron variant, pushing the FTSE 100 up 109.23 points (1.55%) at the close to 7,168.68.
Danni Hewson AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “The volatility that’s marked the last few days hasn’t gone away but today’s action has at least been positive pretty much across the board.
“Investors have likely grabbed onto the comments from a WHO official that Omicron is in most cases mild and that there’s no evidence that vaccine efficacy should be reduced. If this twist in the Covid saga follows the same path as Delta did then global recovery shouldn’t be undermined.
London’s indices have bubbled over with optimism rather like an over eager sommelier with a good champagne. Across all sectors there’s been positive momentum and notable gains for companies that bore the brunt of Friday’s battering with IAG, Wizz Air and The Restaurant Group most in fashion.
8.15am: Blue chips rise
Blue chip shares staged a strong rebound as volatility continues to characterise the markets.
The FTSE 100 was up 80.53 points at 7,139.98 in the first minutes of trading, in line with forecasts as investors mull a positive outlook in the latest CBI private sector survey (see below).
7am: Springfield swoops
Springfield Properties has swooped on the owner of Tulloch Homes, an Inverness-based housebuilder in a deal valued at £56.4 million.
7am: Weir completes deal
Weir Group has completed the previously announced acquisition of Motion Metrics, the market leading developer of innovative Artificial Intelligence and Machine Vision technology used in mines worldwide, for an initial consideration of £89m.
Commenting on the acquisition, Weir Group CEO Jon Stanton said the aim is to play a leading role in “making mining smarter, more efficient and more sustainable”
He said: “I am excited by the opportunities this acquisition brings to drive growth and accelerate our journey to include data and insight as a core offering to our customers.”
Motion Metrics becomes a part of Weir’s ESCO division and will serve as a global centre of excellence for AI and Machine Vision technology in Weir, supporting the increased digitisation of the broader Weir product portfolio.
7am: STV expects record advertising revenue
STV said it is expecting record levels of advertising as the speed and scale of the recovery has exceeded expectations.
The Glasgow-based broadcaster is predicting a 22-24% surge in total advertising revenue for the year to the end of this month, delivering its highest ever advertising revenues and growth of more than 10% compared to financial year 2019.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open higher despite ongoing concerns over Omicron and inflation and a downward move on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.86% lower, the S&P 500 fell 1.9% and the Nasdaq was down 1.55%.
Asia’s markets were more positive with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.4%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.18% higher and the Shanghai Composite up by 0.32%.
12.01am: Private sector growth
Private sector activity grew at a similarly strong pace in the quarter to November as the previous month (balance of +32% from +29%). Activity has now been growing at an above average pace for seven consecutive surveys, according to the CBI’s latest Growth Indicator.
The composite measure is based on responses to CBI surveys from 551 firms between 26 October and 16 November.
Growth remained broad-based and above average across all subsectors. Growth accelerated in consumer services (+28% from +24%) and business & professional services (+40% from +34%), with the latter seeing the fastest rise in activity seen since May.
Distribution volumes (+32% from +32%) and manufacturing output (+17% from +15%) grew at broadly similar rates to the previous month.
Looking ahead, growth in private sector activity is expected to continue at a firm pace, albeit easing in the coming quarter, taking expectations for growth to their lowest since March (+24%). However, expectations nonetheless remain above the long-run average.
Quicker growth in distribution volumes (+42%) and manufacturing output (+32%) are expected to be more than offset by growth in consumer services coming to a halt (+2) and slower growth across business and professional services (+21%).