FTSE 100 made modest gains in early trading helped by more bid action as £5bn valued cybersecurity software house Avast confirmed talks were underway with rival Norton. London’s blue-chip index rose 9 to 7,100.
ASOS PLC (LON:ASC) was a notable weak spot, though. Sales continue to rise but profit margins are being squeezed by global supply chain disruption said the online clothes seller. UK sales rose by 60% in its latest four months, but the shares tumbled 12%.
Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LON:JET) hiked its guidance for full-year order growth and predicted losses have peaked. In the first trading update since completing the acquisition of Grubhub, the takeway app group said it expects to move back towards profitability in the second half of 2021.
On an eating note, the government is being urged to introduce a £3bn sugar and salt tax as part of a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to cure the UK’s bad food habits. The National Food Strategy report says the measure would significantly cut how much junk food and meat we eat and boost vegetable consumption.
Iofina PLC (LON:IOF) reported strong sales and higher iodine prices in its first half. Demand had improved as customer markets reopened after coronavirus restrictions, it added.
Bango PLC’s (LON:BGO) revenues meanwhile jumped 49% in the first half of 2021 as end user spending increased across its payments platform, thanks in part to its partnerships with Microsoft and Amazon. Sales were £7.1mln in the six months ended June.
Premier African Minerals Ltd (LON:PREM) said drilling is underway at its Zulu lithium and tantalum project in Zimbabwe and that a second drilling rig is expected on site this weekend. The AIM-listed company also said that pegmatite, the primary source of lithium, was intersected as expected.