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FTSE opens higher after confirmation UK government will ease coronavirus restrictions on 19 July

FTSE 100 opened higher following confirmation that the UK government will ease coronavirus restrictions on 19 July and more good news on the economy’s recovery. London’s blue-chip index rose 23 to 7,148 in early dealings

On the recovery front, UK banks can pay dividends again from today. Curbs introduced at the start of the pandemic on HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and others were lifted as the Bank of England said its latest stress test showed the sector has more than enough financial strength to cope.

Retail sales meanwhile have seen the best growth for twenty years thanks to a combination of pent-up demand, good weather and football. High street sales jumped by 28.4% in the three months April-June compared to a year ago, said the British Retail Consortium and by 10.4% on 2019.

Pennon subsidiary South West Water has been rated one of the worst polluters in the UK according to a review of raw sewage spillage by the Environment Agency. Its performance has been consistently unacceptable, said the agency.

Revolution Beauty Group PLC announced a £300mln placing and a proposed admission to London’s Alternative Investment Market next week. It plans a conditional placing at 160p per share valuing the beauty and personal care business at about £495mln.

Pan African Resources PLC (LON:PAF) reported a 12.3% increase in gold production for the year to end June 2021, boosted by underground operations at its Barberton and Evander mines in South Africa. Output was about 3 % higher than guidance.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) has launched a discovery fund to assess potential investments in discovery-stage mineral exploration companies. The wholly owned fund, Asgard Metals Fund, is being developed as part of Ariana's proprietary Project Catalyst Strategy.

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