The Market Report with Katie Pilbeam. FTSE 100 opened in the green ahead one of the most keenly anticipated Budget announcements in decades. London’s leading index rose 81 points to 6,695 in early trading.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to allocate £10bn to extend the furlough scheme until September. It’s part of measures worth at least £30bn designed to protect jobs. An estimated 600,000 more self-employed people will also be eligible for government help, with more grants available.
Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN) the UK’s largest housebuilder, said house demand has remained strong at the start of 2021 with forward orders of £2.3bn or 15% higher than last year. Housebuilders should get a boost from measures to encourage first-time buyers anticipated in the Budget.
Rio Tinto PLC’s (LON:RIO) chairman Simon Thompson will step down next year after the blasting of aboriginal heritage sites at a mine in Australia. Thompson said he is “ultimately accountable for the failings that led to this tragic event”.
Cryptocurrency miner Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) mined129 Bitcoin (or equivalent) in February, up from 93 in January. Mining revenue rose to £4.34mln compared to January’s £2.48mln as the price of the crypto rocketed. Gore Street Energy Storage Fund PLC (LON:GSF) is now participating in the National Grid's new dynamic containment service. The industrial battery investor will have most of its operational portfolio in the service from the start of April.
Genedrive PLC (AIM: GDR) said new clinical guidance on screening to prevent antibiotic hearing loss (AHL) in babies should drive demand for its breakthrough diagnostic device. The AHL assay remains on the track for launch in the summer.