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MARKET REPORT: Cranswick bulks up as families eat more meat

Shares in Cranswick rose yesterday after the meat producer revealed the lockdown had bulked up its sales.

The company, which owns farms and supplies pork and chicken to UK grocers, is emerging as one of the business winners from the coronavirus pandemic.

It said sales were turbo-charged by the ‘shift towards greater in-home consumption’ during the lockdown, as families avoided going out and stocked up on meat at the supermarket.

Cranswick, which owns farms and supplies pork and chicken to UK grocers, is emerging as one of the business winners from the coronavirus pandemic

As a result, Cranswick said its revenues surged 25 per cent higher in the 13 weeks to June 27.

And although the company said demand is now returning to normal as people begin to eat out again, it is still expecting better full-year results than previously forecast. 

Cranswick also exports meat and has benefited from increased prices and demand from the Far East, as Chinese pig herds recover from African swine fever.

The upbeat announcement yesterday sent Cranswick’s shares up 6.6 per cent, or 252p, to 4076p, making it one of the day’s top risers. 

Stock Watch – 7digital 

Music technology company 7 digital saw its shares rocket after Triller, a mobile phone app it works with, gained President Trump as a user.

After launching an attack on Chinese-owned social media app Tik Tok, Trump decided to set up a profile on its rival Triller over the weekend and started using the video app to post campaign messages.

This gave 7 digital a boost, as it had just last week signed an 18-month contract with Triller.

Shares shot up 175.6 per cent, or 1.98p, to 3.1p.

Boss Adam Couch said: ‘Our teams across the business have responded brilliantly during these extraordinary and unparalleled times and I would like to thank them for their incredible support and hard work.’

The results came amid a slow day for the FTSE 100 index of blue-chip stocks, which struggled for lift-off during the morning but eventually closed up 0.6 per cent, or 37.4 points, at 6127.44.

That came as bleak economic figures emerged from Japan, with the Footsie also moving little in response to a big cash injection into China’s financial system that was announced overnight. 

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: ‘After an early August rally for equities it has been harder going more recently and it feels like we are now in a holding pattern, waiting for something decisive to push the markets in either direction.’

The Footsie was buoyed by mining stocks, which were boosted by rising gold and copper prices.

Anglo American rose 2.8 per cent, or 53.2p, to 1932.4p, while Polymetal rose 2.9 per cent, or 57p, to 2034p and Fresnillo by 2.3 per cent, or 28.5p, to 1251.5p. Gold miner Centamin was also up by 3.7 per cent, or 7.5p, to 208.6p.

At the same time, the FTSE 250 index of medium-sized firms did not fare much better.

It rose by just 0.2 per cent, or 36.26 points, to 17,771.88.

Dragging on the index were airlines Easyjet and Ryanair, which were down after another day of bleak announcements from the airline industry. 

Easyjet fell 4.6 per cent, or 26.2p, to 544.6p after confirming it will close bases at London Stansted Airport, Southend and Newcastle from September 1. 

Its decision, designed to slash costs as it battles the coronavirus crisis, puts 670 jobs at risk.

Ryanair also fell 5.9 per cent, or €0.68, to €10.87 after it axed almost one in five of flights scheduled in September and October after a drop in bookings over the past ten days.

The airline said sales had ‘noticeably weakened’ as fresh quarantine restrictions were placed on European destinations such as France and Spain, where coronavirus case numbers have risen.

Costain was down too, by 6.1 per cent, or 3.5p, to 54p, after the construction firm delayed the release of its results. 

This is so it can wait for an upcoming decision on its legal battle with the Welsh government, over the cost of a scheme to turn the A465 into a dual carriageway.

Costain said it expects to announce its half-year results on September 14, but said it was on course to report a profit of £5.7million excluding the A465 contract.

Boss Alex Vaughan said Covid-19 had posed ‘significant challenges’ but that the firm was ‘well placed to deliver significant growth in profit in 2021’.

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