MARKET REPORT: Cineworld roars back on US Godzilla vs Kong opening

Monster takings at US box offices for Godzilla vs Kong sent Cineworld to the top of the FTSE 350 leaderboard.

The creature feature raked in £23million in the US over its three-day opening weekend – even though it was also available on streaming services, and social distancing meant cinemas weren’t full.

It was a record opening for a film released during the pandemic.

Godzilla vs Kong raked in £23m in the US over its three-day opening weekend – even though it was also available on streaming services, and social distancing meant cinemas weren’t full

And it was a huge relief to cinema operators who feared people would opt to watch new blockbusters at home. Although Cineworld is the UK’s biggest cinema group, it makes around three-quarters of its sales in the US, where it owns the Regal chain.

It reopened some US screens at almost two-thirds capacity on Good Friday, coinciding with the release of Godzilla vs Kong.

More are due to open, and Cineworld is preparing to throw open the doors at its UK sites on May 17. The enthusiasm to watch films on the big screen will ‘give great heart’ to UK cinema groups before they restart, says UK Cinema Association chief executive Phil Clapp. 

Stock Watch – Oncimmune 

Oncimmune rose after it inked two deals for kit that predicts how badly someone will be affected by Covid and how effective vaccines will be in treating them.

The diagnostic company’s agreements are with Swiss pharma giant Roche and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

It has been working with both groups during the pandemic. Oncimmune, which received Government funding to develop the equipment, rose 5.3 per cent, or 10p, to 200p.   

He added: ‘The numbers prove that even with social distancing and capacity limits in place, cinemas can deliver a hugely enjoyable experience.’

Cineworld was the top riser on the mid-cap index, by 6.4 per cent, or 6.38p, to 105.6p. Its gains eclipsed any in the FTSE 100 too, making it the best performer in the 350.

Investors snapped up other recovery stocks as the UK gears up to allow non-essential retailers and pub beer gardens to reopen on April 12.

Shopping centre owner Hammerson surged 5.1 per cent, or 1.73p, to 35.55p, while Ted Baker climbed 8.6 per cent, or 10p, to 126p, and cider maker C&C Group rose 5.5 per cent, or 15.2p, to 293.2p.

The debate was still raging about whether foreign travel will be able to restart on May 17 and what sort of restrictions will be imposed. 

Easyjet boss Johan Lundgren warned any testing regime must be cheap to make it accessible to most Britons.

But travel shares still advanced. Cruise operator Carnival rose 5 per cent, or 81.2p, to 1707p, while Holiday Inn owner Intercontinental Hotels gained 2 per cent, or 102p, to 5146p, Easyjet 0.3 per cent, or 2.5p, to 1011.5p, and British Airways-owner IAG 2.5 per cent, or 5.15p, to 214.7p.

Ryanair was up 0.4 per cent, or seven cents, to 16.95 euros, and Wizz Air gained 2.3 per cent, or 114p, to 5090p despite posting dire figures that showed passenger figures slumped by 91 per cent and 73 per cent respectively in March compared with the same month the year before.

Both of London’s main indexes had a glowing day. The FTSE 100 rose 1.3 per cent, or 86.25 points, to 6823.55. 

The FTSE 250 closed 1.2 per cent higher, up 261.81 points, to 21,994.48, and during the day rose above the 22,000 mark. It is edging closer to the all-time closing high of 22,059 of January 2020.

Meanwhile, the pan-European index Stoxx 600 index to a record high of 435.26 points.

But Deliveroo failed to deliver yet again ahead of the start of unrestricted trading. 

Today will be the first time that thousands of retail investors will be able to sell their shares in the takeaway group, which has flopped spectacularly since it went public at 390p apiece last week.

Banks have been slammed for overvaluing the company, which has faced scepticism about profitability and issues around workers’ rights, underlined perhaps by a riders’ strike also slated for today over pay. Shares slid another 0.7 per cent, or 2p, to 280p.

Astrazeneca (up 0.2 per cent, or 11p, to 7183p) shrugged off a European Medicines Agency official saying that there appeared to be a link with its Covid vaccine and rare blood clots.

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