Pawnbroker H&T Group Plc said it expected full-year results to be above the top end of current market expectations, driven mainly by surging gold prices that boosted its first-half pretax profit.

Spot gold prices soared above $1,910 on Tuesday, scoring a record top for a fourth consecutive session, as persistent worries about global economic growth burnished bullion's safe-haven appeal.

H&T, a British concern whose services also include check cashing, payday advances and unsecured loans, raised its interim dividend by 7 percent to 3.75 pence.

The company, which started as Harvey & Thompson with a branch in Vauxhall Bridge Road in 1897, currently has 150 stores, including 11 opened during the first half. The company said it expected to open a total of 25 stores this year.

January-June pretax profit was 10.3 million pounds ($16.9 million), compared with 9.6 million pounds a year ago.

H&T, which gets 60 percent of its business from pawnbroking, said its first-half pledge book rose 10.5 percent to 41.2 million pounds. Pawn service charge climbed 14 percent to 13.2 million pounds.

H&T shares, which have risen by nearly 13 percent over the past three months, closed at 368 pence on Monday on the London Stock Exchange.