StockMarketWire.com - Having made a strong start amid optimism over the US stimulus plan the FTSE 100 lost its way a little by midday to trade up 0.2% at 6,736.23.

With trading due to resume in the US later after yesterday's pause for Martin Luther King Jr Day, futures markets pointed to gains. The changing of the guard at the White House is now within touching distance with president-elect Joe Biden's inauguration set to take place amid tight security tomorrow.

Mining company Rio Tinto dipped 0.5% to £59.43 after it boosted fourth-quarter production and shipments of iron ore from Australia's Pilbara region.

Fashion retailer Superdry slumped 17.6% to 197.7p, having reported a deeper first-half loss and scrapped its interim dividend, as the pandemic and related store closures disrupted its turnaround attempts.

Credit data provider Experian ticked up 0.2% to £26.85 after it reported a 10% increase in third-quarter revenue as stronger growth in North America and Latin America helped offset weakness in UK and Ireland.

Experian, however, warned of slower organic revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 3-5%, compared to 7% growth in the third.

Online electrical retailer AO World dropped 5.3% to 357.5p despite reporting a jump in third-quarter revenue in the UK and Germany.

AO World also said it had incurred 'significantly higher' costs as it negotiated working in a Covid compliant environment.

Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy maker Premier Foods shed 3.7% to 103.9p, even as it guided for a rise in annual trading profit after its third-quarter sales jumped 9%, as people buy more groceries during lockdown.

Trading profit for the year through March was expected at between £145 million and £150 million, up from £132.6 million year-on-year, the company said in an update. Sales had grown 12.5% in the year to date.

Real estate company British Land dipped 0.6% to 451.6p on news that it had appointed Bhavesh Mistry as chief financial officer.

Mistry was currently deputy CFO at Tesco, a position he had held for over two years.

Gold miner Centamin firmed 3.4% to 120.2p, having maintained its guidance for 2021 after reporting annual production that met its revised expectations.

Rental and student accommodation developer Watkin Jones gained 9.9% to 204.8p, even as it booked a 47% drop in annual profit after the pandemic led to the deferral of forward sales on developments.

Watkin Jones declared a full-year dividend of 7.35p per share, down 12% year-on-year, but still welcomed by investors keen for yield in a tough market.


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