Hackers hit Weir but FTSE firm as travel, oil stocks rise
The FTSE 100 held on to yesterday’s 1.2% gain, its best in over two weeks, as rising oil prices and the government’s easing on travel restrictions lifted stocks.
The blue-chip index added 12 points or 0.2% to 7,090 led by British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG). Its shares flew 2.5% or 4p to nearly 181p after the government said it would scrap Covid-19 quarantine requirements for 47 countries.
Oil heavyweights BP (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSb) propelled the FTSE higher, up 1.8% and 1.1% respectively as Brent crude gained 1.5% to $83.14 a barrel. Oil prices rose have risen nearly 4.5% this week amid reports some sectors have begun switching to oil from gas following the latter’s price surge.
Weir Group (WEIR) weighed on the mid-cap FTSE 250 index, its shares dropping 49p or 3% to £15.98 after the engineering firm said it was the target of an attempted ransomware attack, which hit third-quarter profit.
The company now expects a full-year profit before tax between £230m and £245m due to the delay in shipments and revenue deferrals caused by the attempted hack.
‘Action to protect our infrastructure and data has led to significant temporary disruption but… managed to minimise the impact on our customers,’ chief executive Jon Stanton said.
The 250 benchmark eased 15 points to 22,543 on track to record its fifth consecutive weekly loss. Domestically focused mid-caps have been undermined by fears of rising inflation with the index sliding 7.5% in the past month.
The pound weakened 0.2% to $1.3587 against the dollar and gold was flat at $1,755 an ounce, ahead of US non-farm jobs figures this afternoon which may influence how the Federal Reserve pulls back its emergency Covid support for the economy.
Baillie Gifford China Growth (BGCG) gained 2.4% or 9p to 383p from a 4.5% discount to asset value as the investment trust sought to recover from its sharp slide from a February peak.
Hipgnosis Songs (SONG) put on 1.5p to 122.5p on a report that US alternative assets giant Blackstone was about to announce a $1bn joint venture with the manager of the music royalties fund.
Picton Property Income (PCTN) perked up 1% to 95.4p after the UK generalist real estate investment trust added £800,000 to its annual rent roll with new lettings in the third quarter.