Pubs and restaurants under pressure over concerns of prolonged restrictions

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Hospitality stocks were under pressure in the early afternoon as UK reopening plans could be hampered by the rise in the Indian Covid variant.

The 20.5% rise in cases over a week raises the possibility that the 21 June lockdown end will be delayed, analysts at IG noted.

Restaurant Group PLC (LON:RTN) shed 4% to 122.4p, Mitchells & Butlers Plc (LON:MAB) slid 3% to 307.8p and J D Wetherspoon plc (LON:JDW) dipped 2% to 1,329p.

12.55pm: Insurers rise after UK finance regulator unveils new rules

Insurers were on the rise in the early afternoon after the Financial Conduct Authority said they will no longer be able to charge existing customers more than new ones.

Price walking, the practice of automatically increasing the premium when it is renewed, will also be stopped.

Direct Line PLC (LON:DLG) rose 3% to 301.3p while Admiral PLC (LON:ADM) was up 1% to 2,963p.

12pm: BMO Commercial Property Trust higher after selling retail warehouse in Scotland 

BMO Commercial Property Trust Limited (LON:BCPT) rose 6% to 89.8p after selling retail warehouse located in East Kilbride, Scotland, for £19mln.

The group said the tag price reflects an increase of 7.2% over the last external valuation of 31 March 2021.

The property is let to B&Q LIMITED for one of its large format stores on a lease due to expire in November 2029.

10.55am: Kodal Minerals on the rise after starting drilling in Cote d’Ivoire

Kodal Minerals PLC (LON:KOD) added 8% to 0.26p after kicking off aircore drilling and has added a second drill rig at the Nielle project, Cote d’Ivoire.

Th aircore programme is designed to test for gold mineralisation along the interpreted strike extensions of the gold mineralised zone, and will be supported by surface geochemical reconnaissance.

A total of 5,000 metres of aircore drilling will be undertken and the work will take two weeks to complete.

9.55am: NMCN tumbles as performance issues continue

NMCN PLC (LON:NMCN) tumbled 25% to 170p after admitting there are some performance issues in the Building business unit alongside challenges on two loss making contracts in Water which will impact current year performance.

Full-year underlying losses before tax for 2020 are expected to come in at £24mln, £6mln of which are attributed to 2019.

The engineer has been looking to secure a new financing package and it said that discussions are progressing well.

In the oil sector, Oilex Ltd (LON:OEX) shed 4% to 0.22p after completing the sale of its 40% participating interest in the Bhandut Production Sharing Contract.

It has received US$290,000 from the buyer and an additional payment of US$28,000 is expected for final cash calls.

“Finalisation of this transaction is very welcome as it provides additional working capital for the company which can be applied towards future costs on the existing Cambay and East Irish Sea projects. We wish Kiri success in their efforts on the Bhandut field,” said managing director Joe Salomon.

8.55am: GSTechnologies jumps after signing collaboration agreement to launch borderless neobanking platform

GSTechnologies Ltd (LON:GST) was an early riser on Friday, jumping 14% to 1.65p after signing a collaboration agreement with Singaporean blockchain payment solution provider Wise MPay.

The latter will provide GSTechnologies with software and services to facilitate its plans to launch a borderless neobanking platform providing next-generation digital money solutions.

It will be called GS Money and will offer several products including an app for fee-free cross border payments.  

Elsewhere, Panthera Resources PLC (LON:PAT) surged 7% to 14.5p after starting its 5,000m reverse circulation drilling programme at the Labola (Wuo Land) Project in Burkina Faso.

The programme is designed to support a maiden resource estimate and will see several gold targets explored with assay results due from the third quarter of this year.

Panthera added the drilling will test a subset of results obtained by High River Gold Mines (later acquired by Nord Gold SE) and Taurus Gold during 2008-2012, which totalled 65,556m of drilling in 541 holes.

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