Market report

London lifted by miners and energy firms


London underpinned by energy and miners

The bluechip FTSE 100 index closed 37.66 points higher at 7,442.39, underpinned by a strong showing from energy heavyweights and solid gains in the mining sector.

Markets were focused on comments by Turkey’s foreign minister that Russia and Ukraine were nearing agreement on “critical” matters – with a ceasefire “possible” if neither side backtracked.

Miners were firmer as metals prices advanced, with Anglo American up 6.12%, Glencore rising 3.82% and Rio Tinto ahead 3.26%.

Energy giants Shell and BP both gushed 4.05% higher as oil prices jumped again – Brent futures were last up 6.24% on ICE at $114.66 per barrel. Shares in Tullow Oil, Capricorn Energy and Harbour Energy were also up by 9.87%, 3.89% and 2.3%, respectively.

The prices of UK homes increased at their fastest rate in almost two decades, according to Rightmove’s most recent data.

Asking prices recorded between 13 February and 12 March were 10.4% higher year-on-year, and 1.7% higher than the previous month’s reading, making for the biggest monthly jump since 2004.

UK retail footfall also rose 2.3% week-on-week last week, as consumers took advantage of warmer weather to make spontaneous trips to shops.

Springboard said aside from the warmer weather, increased shopper traffic could be “an indication that the flexibility of hybrid home/office working could be enabling consumers to make trips to retail destinations during the working week”.

7am: Plexus Holdings

Jeffrey Thrall, chairman of energy firm Plexus Holdings, said that “despite current aspirations, hydrocarbons have a role to play in the transition to NetZero and are likely to remain an important part of the world’s energy mix for much longer than some pundits had predicted.”

Full story here

7am: Beeks Financial Cloud

Beeks Financial Cloud, which provides connectivity to financial markets, is in final negotiations with a number of world-leading global exchanges and is targeting second tier centres in Washington DC and, in partnership with IPC, Amsterdam, Geneva, Zurich and Mexico.

The company, which has recently relocated from Hillington to nearby Braehead, said revenues for the half year to the end of December increased by 46% to £7.72m, of which 89% is recurring.

Full story here

7am: Sword acquires Ping

Sword Group, the Luxembourg-based digital transformation company, has acquired Glasgow-headquartered systems integrator Ping Network Solutions.

Full story here

7am: Photo-Me International

Photo-Me International, the instant-service equipment group, said revenue for the year to the end of October was up 15.1% to £214.4 million (2020: £186.3m), as the group benefited from the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on the movement of people.

EBITDA increased by 57.2% to £65.1m (2020: £41.4m), while reported profit before tax increased by £56.4m to £28.6m (2020: £(27.8m).

The group noted a strong performance with a progressive recovery in demand for its vending services seen across most of its key markets.

Serge Crasnianski, CEO & deputy dhairman, said: “Despite the ongoing impact of COVID-19, our proven and resilient business model has enabled the group to make progress towards returning to its pre-pandemic performance, across all business areas including photobooths.

“This progress was underpinned by our market leading position, our established and long-term partnerships which gives the Group good revenue visibility and year-on-year recurring revenue streams.

“Reported total revenue and profit before tax for the year were at the upper end of our expectations, having benefitted strongly from the recovery that followed the easing of restrictions across our key markets. This performance is testament to the expertise and hard work of our teams around the world and their impressive skill and adaptability. “

Global markets

European Union governments will consider whether to impose an oil embargo on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine as they gather this week with US President Joe Biden for a series of summits designed to harden the West’s response to Moscow.

EU governments will take up the discussion among foreign ministers today, before Mr Biden arrives in Brussels on Thursday for summits with NATO’s 30 allies, as well as the EU and in a Group of Seven (G7) format including Japan.

The FTSE 100 looks set to dip into the red at the open after last week regaining most of the ground lost since late February when Russia invaded Ukraine. It is within less than 100 points of where it was on the eve of hostilities.

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