- The emergence of a new Covid variant in South Africa spooked global investors on Friday with the FTSE 100 down 2.8% to 7,108.46.

Rolls Royce, International Consolidated Airlines, and InterContinental Hotels Group were among the hardest hit on the implications for an extension of travel restrictions.

Essentra fell 1.6% to 308p after commencing a strategic review of the packaging division that would run in parallel with the previously announced strategic review of its filters business as part of a move to become a pure play components business.

Energy group Parkmead reported wider losses owing to a £10.9 million writedown of assets related to the relinquishment of licences in the UK North Sea.

Gasification solutions company Eqtech said it had signed a collaboration agreement with consulting and engineering firm Wood to jointly target opportunities to develop waste-to-synthetic natural gas and waste-to-hydrogen solutions. Its shares were up 7.2% to 1.42p.

Northern Bear fell 2.1% to 1.25p despite swinging to a first-half profit as higher gross margins bolstered performance.

For the six months to 30 September 2021, pre-tax profit was £1.4 million compared with a loss of £2.4 million last year as revenue increased to £30 million from £20.1 million.

Baillie Gifford UK Growth Trust reported net asset value per share return that fell short of the FTSE-All Share Index return in the first half of of the year as weakness in Boohoo, Reinshaw and Lancashire Holdings weighed on portfolio performance. Its shares were down 5.6% to 234.36p.

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