StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 surrendered its earlier gains to trade flat by midday on Thursday at 7,079.17 after the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold.

Postal services group Royal Mail said it expected stronger performance in the second half of the year compared to the first, even as parcel volumes normalise following a boost from the pandemic, and costs rise. The shares dipped 0.5% to 480p.

Consumer goods company Reckitt was flat at £58.78 as it said it was 'confident' of meeting its full-year guidance after reporting that performance since its half-year results was in line with management's expectations. The company is due to hold an investor event later.

Pubs and hotels business group Fuller, Smith & Turner fell 1.1% to 722p as it said like for like sales for the seven weeks to 18 September 2021 stood at 86% of 2019 pre-COVID levels since the reopening in July from pandemic-enforced closures.

By contrast its peer, pub group Mitchells & Butlers, said that in the 18 weeks since full indoor trading reopened like-for-like sales have been at 97% of pre-Covid levels. That followed an improvement since the last update in the most recent 8 weeks to 104%.

Gambling company Playtech swung to a first-half profit as gains on derivative financial assets offset longer-than-expected pandemic-led retail closures in Italy. It ticked up 0.5% to 449.4p. For the six months ended 30 June 2021, pre-tax profit rose to €278.1 million from a loss of €19.2 million last year, while revenue fell 4% to €457.4 million.

Wealth management firm Investec was up 1% as it upgraded its outlook on earnings following 'good' revenue growth, and lower impairments in the first half of the year.

Rockhopper Exploration and other oil companies focused on the Falklands fell sharply as partner Harbour Energy decided not to proceed with the Sea Lion project. Rockhopper shares fell more than 30%.


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