Galliford Try is building expectations up again after announcing it expects to return to profit this year.
The construction group brushed off the UK’s second lockdown, saying all its projects have been back up and running since the start of July when its financial year began.
Reassuring investors ahead of its annual shareholder meeting yesterday, Galliford said it expected ‘to emerge strongly from the pandemic’.
It said it should make a profit in the six months to December, and that it expected to announce an interim dividend at its half-year results in March.
The firm was the biggest riser on the FTSE All Share, rocketing 26.1 per cent, or 21.43p, to 103.6p, halting a nine-month slide in dramatic fashion. It added that it had recently secured contracts to help build infrastructure for Thames Water, and had been appointed carry out the £85m works on junctions 6 to 8 of the M56 for Highways England. But Galliford was one of the few notable risers on the stock market, as the storming rally which began earlier in the week fizzled out.
The FTSE100 slipped 0.36 per cent, or 22.55 points, to 6316.39 points, as investors’ excitement over the prospect of a return to economic normality on the back of vaccine hopes began to wane.
‘European markets were mixed as investors figure out what to do next after the exuberant vaccine-induced rally and following a soft session on Wall Street,’ said Neil Wilson at Markets.com.
Referring to speeches given on Thursday by US Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, and Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey, Wilson added: ‘Central bankers warned that a vaccine was not enough to end all the economic challenges.’
All three central bankers were cautiously optimistic that a vaccine could reduce the damage, but urged governments around the world to keep supporting their national economies.
A slightly stronger pound also weighed on the FTSE, which is more heavily exposed to international markets so tends to move down when sterling rises.
The pound was up against the dollar at $1.317, as traders hoped for some movement on Brexit talks over the weekend.
RSA Insurance Group, one of the oldest firms in the country, came a step closer to being snapped up by overseas rivals Intact and Tryg. Candian firm Intact said it had secured all the financing it would need for its side of the £7.2billion deal, revealing that CIBC Capital Markets and Barclays Capital Canada were underwriting a £950m share subscription. Intact and Tryg have yet to formalise their offer for RSA, but shares in the FTSE 100 insurer edged up 0.9 per cent, or 5.8p, to 656.2p.
The FTSE250 edged down 0.2 per cent, or 32.17 points, to 19,270 as traders waited for more Brexit news.
Most of the excitement was seen at the smaller end of the market.
FRP Advisory, which specialises in helping companies in financial trouble, climbed 5.8 per cent, or 6p, to 110p as it said half-year revenues would be up 14 per cent on the previous year. Recently appointed administrator for the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, FRP is readying for a busy few months as more businesses struggle due to the pandemic.
Luxury handbag maker Mulberry ended its brief winning streak as investors began to take profits after a bounce this week.
Since last Thursday, shares have climbed almost 20 per cent, as eager traders hoped a recovery from the pandemic could put expensive accessories back on the menu and bring wealthy overseas shoppers back to the UK. But shares slipped 3.7 per cent, or 6.5p, to 170p.