StockMarketWire.com - Hopes that central banks might maintain support for the global economy for longer given mounting Covid infections plus a string of positive corporate updates helped the FTSE 100 surge 1.7% to close just below 7,000.

The recovery from a bruising start to the week was also supported by a solid start to trading on Wall Street with the S&P 500 up 0.6% to 4,347.63.

Fashion retailer Next jumped 8.3% to £80.05 after upgrading its annual guidance and pledging special dividends, having enjoyed a stronger-than-expected sales performance so far in the second quarter.

Next's pre-tax profit for the year through January, on a pre-IFRS 16 basis, was now expected at £750 million at the 'central' guidance level, up from previous guidance given in May of £720 million.

Next said surplus cash for the full year was forecast to be £240 million, to be distributed through special dividends during the current financial year, the first to be paid in September.

Specialist media platform Future rallied 9.4% to £35.12, having guided for a full-year profit 'materially ahead' of current market expectations.

Future cited robust digital advertising revenue and ongoing eCommerce product affiliate revenue growth, plus a recovery in magazine sales.

Elsewhere, letter and parcel delivery group Royal Mail reversed 3.2% to 513.6p, even as its first-quarter revenue grew 13% and it said its prospects for the full year were unchanged.

Compared to two years earlier, Royal Mail's revenue had risen 20%.

Mining company BHP gained 2.8% to £22.49 after Bloomberg News reported that it was mulling a $15 billion exit from its oil and gas business, citing sources familiar with the plans.

Fellow miner Rio Tinto added 2.6% to £59.85 after it agreed with community members in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea to assess the environmental and human rights impacts of the the Panguna mine, which ceased operating in 1989.

Chile-focused copper play Antofagasta rose 4.1% to £14.21, having maintained its annual output guidance despite reporting a fall in production for the second quarter, owing to lower grades.

Information services provider Euromoney Institutional Investor rose 1.2% to £10.14 as it reported a 14% rise in third-quarter revenue, led by growth in its subscription business.

Looking ahead to full-year 2021, Euromoney said it remained 'confident' of delivering a result in line with its expectations.

Technology company Computacenter climbed 5.5% to £25.96 as it touted 'substantial growth' for 2021 after forecasting first-half adjusted pre-tax profit to be about 50% up year-on-year.

Wickes, the DIY chain recently spun out of Travis Perkins, gained 2.0% to 252p on announcing that its first-half sales had risen 33% year-on-year, while sticking to its profit guidance.

Wickes said its adjusted pre-tax profit for the six months through 26 June was still expected to be around £45 million.

Defence technology group QinetiQ slipped 1.5% to 336.4p as it announced that it still expected to post annual revenue growth in the mid single digits.

QinetiQ said its visibility on revenue under contract for the full year had risen to £940 million, up from £800 million in April 2021.

Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk firmed 2% to 21.7p even as its output sank 39% in the first half, as expected, with a higher gold price partially offsetting the blow.

Petropavlovsk's production for the six months through June dropped to 195,000 ounces, though the company stuck to annual guidance of 430,000-to-470,000 ounces.

Infection prevention products group Tristel slumped 5.4% to 624.5p, despite nudging up its annual profit guidance after the rate of hospital admissions for non-Covid-related conditions began to recover.

Tristel, however, also announced that it would write off the value of an equity investment in a medical device company focussed on women's health to the tune of £0.8 million.


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