“Blue-chips were at record highs in early trading with little in the way of UK corporate news to give direction and investors looking to US non-farm payrolls later,” says AJ Bell Investment Director Russ Mould.
“Butcher Crawshaw was an early riser following record sales in the week leading up to Christmas. This was due to the strength of its growing factory shop format which offset the impact of lower footfall on the high street where like-for-like sales fell by 6.1%. The group’s 10 factory shops within its 54-shop estate accounted for a quarter of sales during the festive period while the softer consumer environment and the certainty of additional cost inflation flowing through will continue to act as a drag on profitability of the high street shops. Crawshaw’s shares were up by 3.3%.
“Egdon Resources’ shares plunged after planning inspectors rejected the company’s appeals for the development of the Wressle field in Lincolnshire. Egdon had hoped inspectors would overturn two refusals by the local council’s planning committee given previous positive recommendations by the planning officer and the issue of an environmental permit. Egdon and its joint venture partners will now take a detailed look at the reasons for the refusals and review their options. Egdon’s shares were down by more than 18.6% in early trading.
“Premier African Minerals has suspended operations at its RHA tungsten operation in Zimbabwe after encountering poor ore grades. Output exceeded targets but the ore was at grades largely insufficient to achieve profitable production. A separate listing for the Zulu lithium project is now being considered which would unlock significant value for shareholders. Premier’s shares were down by over 16.9%.”
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