StockMarketWire.com - By lunchtime the FTSE 100 had recovered earlier losses to trade flat at 5,945.89 following a robust update from the UK construction sector.

US futures markets suggested Wall Street would consolidate its gains from Monday following president Donald Trump's return to the White House after a stay in hospital with Covid-19.

Luxury watch and jewellery retailer Watches of Switzerland soared 21.1% to 404p after it upgraded its annual revenue and margin guidance following a bumper second quarter of its financial year.

Revenue for the year through April was now expected to between £880 million and £910 million, up from previous guidance of £840 million-to-£860 million, with operating margins edging higher.

Mining giant BHP ticked up 0.2% to £16.56 on revealing that it would acquire Hess Corporation's 28% stake in Shenzi, a development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, for $505 million.

The acquisition, expected to close by December, would bring BHP's working interest in Shenzi to 72% and add around 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production.

Plastics manufacturer Victrex fell 1.5% to £18.93, having warned that its annual revenue would slide 10% and that it was planning to cut 100 jobs.

At the same time, Victrex said it would reinstate its 2020 dividend, citing a healthy cash position.

Iron-ore pellet producer Ferrexpo slipped 2.6% to 169.4p after its third-quarter output dropped 12% following maintenance activity.

Ferrexpo also announced that it had lost an appeal in a Ukrainian court against a ruling restricting the sale of its assets there.

Precious metal miner Polymetal International reversed 1.1% to £16.73 following news that it had approved construction of the $80 million Kutyn project in far eastern Russia.

Conventional open-pit mining would commence with pre-stripping in the third quarter of 2021, with first ore mined in the first quarter of 2022.

Wagamama and Frankie & Benny's owner Restaurant Group jumped 5.1% to 57.4p, even as it booked a deeper first-half loss after the pandemic crimped sales and it permanently shuttered outlets as part of a sweeping restructure.

On a more positive note, Restaurant Group said its post-lockdown trading performance was 'very encouraging' with Wagamama like-for-like sales up 11% and pub sales up 14% in the 11 weeks from 4 July.

Polling and data group YouGov added 4.6% to 947p as it hiked its dividend after booking a rise in underlying annual profit, driven by higher sales in the UK and US markets.

YouGov declared a full-year dividend of 5p per share, up 25% year-on-year.


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