The FTSE 100 ended the Easter Monday-shortened week 178.45 points higher, closing at 6,915.75 on Friday.
Rio Tinto said it has signed binding heads of agreement with Turquoise Hill Resources on an updated funding plan of around $2.3bn to finish the Oyu Tolgoi copper project in Mongolia. The plan builds on and replaces an arrangement signed last September, the two companies said on Friday.
Avon Rubber said on Friday that given its current order book and expected order intake in the second half, it remains confident of achieving its expectations for the year. In an update for the year ending 30 September 2021, the company said trading in the second quarter remained strong, with "ongoing positive momentum" and continued strong order intake across its portfolio of life critical personal protection systems for militaries and first responders.
Versarien said South Korea's Graphene Lab had made a £1.93m strategic investment in the company as part of an agreement for the companies to work together. Graphene Lab has bought 4.28m new shares in Versarien at an issue price of 45p a share and will own 2.2% of Versarien. Versarien shares closed at 38.4p on Thursday.
PageGroup jumped to their highest value in two and a half years after the recruitment group said improving trading made it more confident about the outlook. Gross profit for the three months to the end of March rose 2% to £184.2m a year earlier and performance improved throughout the period, the recruitment group said in an update. Profit at constant currency fell 9.9% compared with the first quarter of 2019.
Babcock International shares slumped on Friday following a report the defence contractor is bracing for a big writedown. According to the Financial Times, Babcock is preparing to write down the value of its assets by several hundred million pounds as the new chief executive looks to draw a line under previous management.
Iron ore miner Ferrexpo said first quarter production rose slightly, reflecting the impact of ongoing pelletiser upgrade work on output. The company on Thursday reported iron ore pellet production of 2.8m, up 2% year on year and 12% below the final quarter of 2020.
Segro said it continued to achieve strong rent collection amid wider pressures in the commercial property sector caused by the Covid-19 crisis. The warehouse owner said it had received 89% of £52m due by 25 March for the second quarter and it expected the "substantial balance" of remaining rents to be paid by the end of the quarter.
British Land said it had pre-let nearly 30% of office space at its 1 Broadgate development to real estate services firm JLL on a 15-year term. JLL plans to make the building its new UK flagship office and will move in after the development completes in 2025.
OSB announced a dividend worth 25% of earnings as the bank reported a 9% drop in underlying annual profit as bad debts rose and margins shrank. Underlying pre tax profit for the year to the end of December fell 9% to £346.2m as the equivalent loan-loss ratio rose by 10 basis points to 38 basis points.
Anglo American announced the demerger of its thermal coal operations in South Africa on Thursday, subject to the approval of shareholders on 5 May. The FTSE 100 mining giant said the separation would be implemented through the transfer of its thermal coal operations in South Africa to a new holding company, Thungela Resources, the demerger of Thungela shares to Anglo American shareholders, and the listing of those shares in Johannesburg and London.
UK chemicals firm Croda International said it had bought French fine fragrance business Parfex for €45m. Based in the perfume hub of Grasse, in the south of the country, Parfex creates fragrances mainly for the premium personal care and fine perfumery markets, Croda said on Wednesday.
Anglo American said on Wednesday that the value of rough diamond sales at its De Beers unit fell in the third cycle of the year, in line with expectations. The value declined to $440m from $550m in the second cycle.
Impax Environmental Markets' value per share rose in 2020 as increased interest in environmental markets in the second half reversed an earlier slump in share prices. The environmental investment trust's net asset value (NAV) per share rose to 411.2p from 321.8p in the year to the end of December as its share price increased to 422.5p from 333p.
Saga said demand at its travel business was strong as the over-50s insurance and travel company reported an 84% drop in annual profit. Underlying pre tax profit for the year to the end of January fell to £17.1m from £109.9m as revenue plunged to £337.6m from £797.3m. Saga's statutory pretax loss narrowed to £61.2m from £300.9m as goodwill impairments reduced.
Deliveroo shares rose on the first day that retail investors were allowed to trade shares bought in the company's contentious initial public offering. Shares in the food delivery group were up 3.3% to 289.1p at 09:11 GMT. The shares were still valued at more than £1 less than their flotation price.
Discount carrier Wizz Air saw the number of travellers that it carried jump by nearly half last month, but the outfit's load factor dropped as it added capacity even more quickly. Wizz transported 40% more passengers in March versus the month before to reach 768,113.
Tullow Oil has started a multi-year, multi-well drilling campaign offshore Ghana, drilling the first well at the Jubilee Field on Monday. The company said on Tuesday that as previously announced, the Maersk Venturer, which has been contracted for four years, is expected to drill four wells in total this year, consisting of two Jubilee production wells, one Jubilee water injector well and one TEN gas injector well.
Software company Sage Group has entered into an agreement for the sale of its Swiss business to HR software provider Infoniqa, it announced on Tuesday, which is majority-owned by Warburg Pincus. The FTSE 100 firm had indicated that the business was held for sale in its full-year results on 20 November.
Gene and cell therapy company Oxford Biomedica has signed a new three-year development and supply agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim, it announced on Tuesday, for the manufacture and supply of various types of viral vectors. The FTSE 250 firm said that under the agreement, it would manufacture GMP batches for Boehringer Ingelheim to support the development of viral vectors.
IT managed services provider Redcentric said on Tuesday that full-year trading had been "excellent", with revenues growing, healthy profitability and exceptional cash flows. Redcentric stated its "strong" recurring revenues, "resilient" business model and "diverse" customer base had enabled it to not only weather the Covid-19 storm but also "flourish" in "difficult times".
Average house prices in the UK hit a new record high in March, as the residential property market gained momentum, with fresh data on Friday showing prices gaining 1.1% month-on-month. The Halifax House Price Index showed that in the January-to-March quarter, prices were 0.3% firmer than in the three months through December, while on a year-on-year basis, the cost of a home had grown 6.5% since March 2020.
UK construction output rose at the fastest pace for more than six years in March as a revival in confidence spread across the sector. The IHS Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers' index registered 61.7 in March - a sharp rise from 53.3 in February and the strongest growth rate since September 2014. Growth was spread across all major sections of the industry.
London Stock Exchange is investigating a two-hour interruption of services at its recently acquired Refinitiv data business. Subscribers to Refinitiv's Eikon platform said they could not read prices after it went down at about 07:30 GMT, Reuters reported. The business has more than 40,000 customers and 400,000 users tracking prices of currencies, equities and other assets.
Demand for Easter eggs helped push up visits to UK shops in March ahead of a planned reopening of non-essential stores, industry figures showed. With the UK in lockdown footfall was down 68.7% compared with two years earlier, 4.9 points better than February and better than the three-month average, the British Retail Consortium said.
The UK services sector returned to growth in March as new orders rose ahead of lockdown easing, according to a survey released on Wednesday. The IHS Markit/CIPS services PMI business activity index increased to 56.3 from 49.5 in February. This was a touch below the flash reading of 56.8 but above the 50.0 level that separates contraction from expansion for the first time since October 2020.
Workers at delivery firm Deliveroo have gone on strike in a dispute over pay and conditions, their union said on Wednesday. Socially distanced protests were held in cities including London, York, Sheffield, Reading and Wolverhampton, while supportive action was expected in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Spain.
New car registrations in the UK recorded their first rise since August of 2020 last month with 283,964 new units sold. That marked an 11.5% rise on a year earlier.
Footfall across UK retail destinations rose last week but the Easter weekend was hit by bad weather, according to the latest data from retail analysts Springboard. Footfall rose 8.5% from the week before, driven mainly by warmer weather at the start of the week. High streets and retail parks saw increases of 9% and 9.7%, respectively, but shopping centres saw a more modest 6.3% jump as shoppers opted for external environments to make the most of the sunshine.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday new mass Covid-19 testing programmes as society reopens. Johnson said on Monday that everyone in the country will be able to take tests twice a week to make the easing of restrictions safer for everyone.
British aristocrats and inheritors of estates have drawn on public funds that were put in place to help struggling citizens get through the Covid-19 caused crisis. Wealthy owners of businesses and large acres of land in the UK have made claims to pay staff that work at the ancestral estates and their personal businesses, reported the Guardian on Monday.
China's factory gate prices rose faster than expected in March and at the fastest pace for almost three years as higher commodity costs fed through in the world's biggest manufacturing nation. The country's producer price index rose 4.4% from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said. The jump outstripped the 3.5% increase expected by analysts and was far stronger than the 1.7% rise in February.
German industrial production unexpectedly declined in February amid coronavirus restrictions, according to figures released on Friday by Destatis. Industrial production fell 1.6% on the month following a 2% drop in January, missing expectations for a 1.5% increase.
China said on Friday it would take the necessary measures to uphold the rights and interests of Chinese companies, a day after the United States' Commerce Department added seven supercomputing entities to its blacklist. The announcement, which was made by foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular news briefing, yielded few clues about what those measures would entail.
German factory orders rose in February despite ongoing coronavirus restrictions, according to figures released on Thursday by Destatis. Orders pushed up 1.2% on the month following a 0.8% increase in January, in line with expectations. On the year, factory orders increased 5.6% in February following a 1.4% jump the month before.
Spanish health minister Carolina Darias announced on Wednesday that Spain would restrict use of the AstraZeneca shot to people over the age of 60. The Mediterranean country was the latest to limit the use of AstraZeneca's jab after it was found that there could be a link between the shot and rare blood clotting cases.
Initial jobless claims rose more than expected in the week ended 3 March despite signs of healing elsewhere in the jobs market. According to the Labor Department, first-time claims came to 744,000, well above expectations for a print of 694,000 and an increase of 16,000 on the prior week's upwardly revised reading of 728,000.
Business activity in the eurozone returned to growth in March as manufacturing output surged and services improved, a survey showed. The final IHS Markit Eurozone composite purchasing managers' index rose to 53.2, outstripping an earlier estimate of 52.5 and recovering from a score of 48.8 in February.
The European Medicines Agency will launch an investigation next week into the ethical standards of the clinical trials for the Russian Sputnik V jab against the novel coronavirus. Sources told the Financial Times that the EU regulator was concerned about whether the clinical tests had contravened ethical rules. The sources said there were worries regarding a lack of "good clinical practice".
China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that relations between China and the EU were facing “various challenges” and he hoped the 27-nation bloc could “independently” make correct judgements, Chinese state media reported. In a phone call with Merkel, Xi said the EU and China should “respect each other” and “eliminate interference.” It was unclear what interference he was referring to.
The eurozone unemployment rate remained stable in February, according to figures released on Tuesday by Eurostat. The unemployment rate was stable compared to January at 8.3%, coming in a touch higher than expectations of 8.1%. It was up from 7.3% in February 2020.