– The FTSE 100 rose 2.57 points to 6,710.45.
– The FTSE 250 climbed 9.83 points to 17,688.73.
– The FTSE All Share increased by 2.16 points to 3,660.69.
– The FTSE AIM All Share finished 4.04 points higher at 768.06.
UK Government borrowing in May was at its lowest rate since 2007, after receipts rose and a block on spending was put in place. According to the Office for National Statistics, the Treasury borrowed £10.1 billion last month, 18% lower than in May last year. The development was greeted as positive, but Paul Hollingsworth from Capital Economics commented that “nonetheless, with a long way to go in order to restore the public finances to better health, a major re-intensification of the fiscal squeeze is looming”.
Autotrader’s (AUTO) switch to digital continued to drive it through the year ended 29th March with revenues accelerating by 8% to £255.9 million and pre-tax profits almost tripling to £10.9 million. Market penetration in the UK also improved with the firm claiming that 80% of car retail forecourts use its services to advertise. The company held its IPO in March with a list price of 235p. Today. the shares closed at 306.75p, down 1.25p.
Home shopping outfit N Brown (BWNG) said that sales in the 3 months ended 29th May were up 2.5% on the equivalent period of the prior year, but the company nevertheless stuck to its somewhat gloomy full-year guidance. This encouraging change in momentum comes after last year’s full year revenue dropped by 0.1%. Financial services continued to struggle but were offset by good performances elsewhere in the group. Shares in the firm rose by 6.8p to 359.4p.
Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets cut its rating on BP (BP.) to “Sector Perform” from “Outperform”, but held onto its 500p target price. The Bank wrote that it continues “to see potential upside to BP’s cost reduction potential, but feel the risk reward opportunity has become more balanced for now”. Shares in BP fell 3.1p to 431.35p.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) saw its shares rise by 52p to 1,947p after Citi upgraded it from “neutral” to “buy”. It’s been a rocky few months for Hikma shares, which have dropped from their February high of 2,574p, but RBC urged investors to consider the current price as a good entry point. The target price was held steady at 2,400p.
Investors went bananas for Fyffes (FFY) today after the company upped its full year forecasts due to improved selling prices and by achieving operational efficiencies. It also traded well in the US through the melon import season. Fyffes shares grew by 9.5% to 93.62.
Shares in COLT (COLT) shot upwards by 19.97% to 188p after Fidelity made a bit for the company at 190p. The firm’s independent directors have not yet determined whether to recommend the offer, as they believe the offer undervalues the company’s prospects but may be acceptable to some shareholders at the current time.
Monday’s news today
On Monday, EU consumer confidence data will be published.
Quote of the day
“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
– Amelia Earhart