StockMarketWire.com - UK markets put the pedal to the metal in afternoon trading, rapidly building on morning optimism driven by investors continuing to bet on a sharp economic recovery. That's built on moves in the UK and elsewhere around the world increasingly easing lockdown restrictions, despite protesters still taking to the streets in the US and Hong Kong.

The UK's benchmark FTSE 100 saw its early thrust accelerate markedly through the afternoon, as investor confidence was further bolstered by a strong start to Friday trading in New York, where major market opened between 2% and 4% higher.

The index closed more than 2.3% up at 6,487.67, leaving the FTSE 100 up nearly 7% on the week. The FTSE 250 was similarly firm at 18,229.14, also making a 7% move higher over the week.

The FTSE 100 leader board was dominated by a swing of positive sentiment towards otherwise embattled travel and engineering stocks, led by cruise operator Carnival's near 20% jump to £14.315.

Miners Polymetal and Fresnillo led the blue chip fallers, sinking more than 5% a piece to £14.15 and 717.4p respectively.

HOUSEBUILDER RECOVERY

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey gave investors something to cheer after restarting construction on the majority of its sites in England and Wales, with Scottish sites preparing for a return of activity.

That saw the shares rise 1.7% to 161.4p.

The company said in an update that it was on track to reach 'meaningful' production capacity from the end of June. That overshadowed news that total completions in the 22 weeks to 31 May slumped from 4,052 to 2,455 year-on-year.

Outside the blue chips, copper miner KAZ Minerals plunged more than 7% to 461p after upping the budget needs for its Baimskaya project in Russia to $7bn. The company had originally estimated spending $5.5bn.

Waste management company Biffa was also very weak, falling nearly 7% to 244.5p after it cancelled its final dividend to conserve cash. That was despite saying that profit had more than doubled, driven by strong performance in its collections business, and higher margins.

Shared office space group Workspace reversed earlier gains to end the day down 2.5% at 770p after it hiked its annual dividend by 10%, supported by a boost in rental income that underpinned a rise in adjusted profit.

Workspace said it had experienced a significant slowdown in enquiries from the end of March, with 75% of customers receiving a 50% rent reduction offer until the end of June.

Oil and gas play Premier Oil rallied nearly 13% to 35.86p having agreed a discounted price of $210m for its planned acquisition of the Andrew and Shearwater assets in the North Sea from BP.

Premier Oil also reached a settlement agreement with largest creditor ARCM, which would see ARCM issued about 82.2m shares, representing an 8.9% stake in the company, at 26.69p per share.

That saw Premier's share price surge more than 25% at 39.82p.

Materials manufacturer Morgan Advanced Materials ended the day more than 5% higher at 247.5p, even as its year-to-date sales dropped 8.8% on an organic and constant currency basis.

Morgan Advanced Materials also said cost cutting measures would save £20m per annum by 2022 but come with an upfront cost of £30m. It didn't specify if the measures included job cuts.

REVOLUTION ON AIM AND CASH CALL

Cocktail bar group Revolution Bars tumbled 16% to 29p as it launched an up to £15m equity raising, at 20p per share, to cut debt and help it weather the Covid-19 crisis.

Concrete-levelling technology group Somero Enterprises recovered earlier losses to gain more than 4% to 220p after furloughing about a fifth of its workforce, while warning it would miss its revenue expectations due to the pandemic.

Engineering services company Wood Group jumped 10% to 244.5p after announcing that it was targeting a 40% reduction in its carbon emissions by 2030.

Specialist engineer Renishaw reversed earlier gains to close virtually flat at £41.00 despite deciding not pay a final dividend for its current financial year through June.

Ventilation products supplier Volution advanced 8% to 179p on announcing that its performance in the UK had improved, with activity at 65% of prior-year levels in June, up from 30% in April.

Tech group WANdisco gained more than 3% to 806p, having won a contract with a US airline group that it didn't name.


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