Investors ended the week on a high.
Investors ended the week on a high, with markets across Europe finishing the day in positive territories, putting to rest any thought that Covid variants could impact the recent good moods.
In London, the FTSE 100 leading index ended up 25.48 points, or 0.35%, offering up the fourth weekly rise in succession.
European markets had an equally impressive day, with the French Cac 40 up 0.49% and Germany’s Dax 30 up 0.26% reaching an all-time high.
Michael Hewson, chief financial analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “If investors are concerned about rising delta variant cases globally, there’s little evidence that it is prompting any undue worry, although markets in Asia have been a little more cautious.
“The FTSE 100 has also managed to make progress making a new 18-month high, and posting its fourth successive weekly rise, its best run of gains since last November.”
The pound, which has barely moved all week, was flat against the euro at 1.175 and up 0.02% against the dollar at 1.386.
In company news, defence giant Babcock revealed it has sold its consultancy division, which has contracts with the Ministry of Defence, for £293 million.
The deal will see Frazer-Nash Consultancy under the control of American engineering giant KBR in the latest instance of a UK defence business agreeing a sale to foreign interests.
Investors were pleased with the news, with shares closing up 19.6p, or 6.4%, to 326.2p.
London-listed South African coalminer Thungela Resources, which was spun out of Anglo American, said that revenue had grown by more than 500% to 10 billion South African rand (£490 million) in the first six months of the financial year.
The business also recorded a 351 million rand (£17 million) pre-tax profit from a 122 rand (£6 million) loss, pleasing shareholders, with shares up 14.7p, or 6.5%, to 242.4p.
But gas-mask maker Avon Protection saw its shares crash 27.7% – down 818p to 2,132p – after supply chain pressures and delayed orders forced it to drop its expectations for this year and next year.
The business revised revenue guidance down to between 245 million dollars (£177 million) and 260 million dollars (£188 million) in the 2021 financial year, warning that supply chains would continue to be disrupted during the 2022 financial year.
Shares in Venture Life also crashed on Friday after customers abandoned its hand sanitiser in droves, the company said.
Bosses revealed they only managed to bank £100,000 in sales of hand sanitiser in the first six months of 2021, less than one 30th of last year’s sales when panic buying set in.
Shares fell 30.7p, or 30.9%, to 68.8p.
And convenience store operator McColl’s confirmed it has raised £30 million in a share placing announced recently. The good news was not enough to recover the big 26% share price fall on Thursday after issuing a shock profit warning. Shares closed the day up 0.4p at 22p.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Segro up 27p at 1,262p; Polymetal up 28.5p at 1,510.5p; SSE up 28p at 1,625p; Flutter up 235p at 14,215p and Pershing Square up 40p at 2,610p.
The biggest fallers were Phoenix down 17.4p at 663.6p; Hargreaves Lansdown down 25.5p at 1,486.5p; Evraz down 9.6p at 588.4p; Abrdn down 3.3p at 285.6p and Shell B shares down 15.4p at 1,438.8p.