FTSE 100 off its lows amid vaccine hopes


The FTSE 100 made a partial recovery on Monday despite investors continuing to fret about inflation risks. By midday the index had recovered around half of its initial losses to trade 0.45% lower at 6,594.41.

Some support to sentiment was provided by mounting evidence of the efficacy of vaccines ahead of the UK reopening plan set to be announced later.

Security group G4S slumped 9.8% to 242.6p after private equity firm GardaWorld said it wouldn't raise its 235p offer for the company, cooling hopes of a bidding war.

G4S had rejected GardaWorld's offer in favour of 245p bid from Allied Universal.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca was flat at £72.19 even after it said it was withdrawing a bladder cancer drug in the US after it failed to meet post-marketing requirements in a clinical study.

Infection prevention group Tristel rose 1.2% to 607p, having posted a 12% rise in first-half profit, as hospitals rushed to purchase disinfectants amid the pandemic.

Tristel declared an interim dividend of 2.62p per share, up 12% year-on-year, as 15% growth in sales hit the top end of the company's 10-15% target.

Pub group Mitchells & Butlers reversed 0.6% to 321.02p after it said its sales had fallen sharply due to the UK's Covid-19 lockdown.

Mitchells & Butlers, while launching a planned £350 million equity raising, said managed sales between 27 September and 16 January had dropped 70% year-on-year.

Veterinary drugs company Dechra Pharmaceuticals shed 0.2% to £36.03, even as hiked its dividend 8% to 11.11p per share on the back of an 82% jump in first-half profit.

Dechra said it was starting to see a pre-Brexit inventory build unwind and, therefore, was expecting the balance of trading to be first-half weighted.

Computing and power product manufacturer Solid State climbed 2.1% to 786p, having upgraded its profit guidance, citing strong demand for higher-margin products.

Solid State's profit for the year through March was expected to be ahead of consensus forecasts, with revenue in line with forecasts.

Footwear retailer Shoe Zone fell 2.7% to 69.1p as it announced that finance director Peter Foot had left, with immediate effect, and that it had started searching for a replacement.

Foot had only stepped into the role in July last year.

Argentina-focused oil company President Energy fell 12.2% to 2.12p after it said it would post a drop in annual earnings and revenue, as lower crude prices offset a rise in output.

Looking ahead to 2021, President Energy forecast a rise in annual production to between 3,600 and 4,000 barrels of oil per day.