– The FTSE 100 closed the day at 6,675.76, an increase of 44.76 points.
– The FTSE 250 rose by 23.13 points to finish at 17,535.94.
– The FTSE All Share grew by 20.29 points to 3,638.74.
– The FTSE AIM All Share finished at 749.92, a rise of 0.76 points.
Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) boosted pre-tax profits for the six months ended 30th June by 21.5% to $458 million (£293.2 million). Meanwhile, revenues inched up 0.8% to $915 million (£585.75 million) as revenue by room increased across all territories. Panmure Gordon reiterated its “hold” rating and said that while Intercontinental is its top pick in the sector, it is now trading at around fair value. Shares in the company rose by 120p to 2,743p.
Drug manufacturer AstraZeneca (AZN) recorded a 6% drop in total revenues for the six months to 30th June due to adverse currency movements, with modest growth at constant exchange rates. Core profits before tax fell by 10% to $3.3 billion (£2.1 billion), but this was higher than had been forecast due to strong demand for Brillinta and the sale of certain assets. Shore Capital repeated its “buy” position, but said that the development pipeline was more important than current results. The shares climbed 3% to 4,319p.
Diageo (DGE) shares lost some fizz today and dropped 28.5p to 1,811p after the brewer posted flat net sales of £10.8 billion for the year ended 30th June. The decision to recommend a 9% increase in the final dividend was a bit of a shock, but somewhat justified by management’s bullish stance on future growth and the firm’s market position.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) beat analysts’ forecasts for the second quarter of 2015, despite profits falling due to restructuring costs and declining income from corporate and institutional banking. Management said that the company is still on track to meet full year efficiency targets. Shares in the bank fell 10.8p to 342.4p.
Broker Numis (NUM) has bought an 8.5% stake in funding platform Crowdcube for an undisclosed consideration. Management said that there are potential synergies that could improve high growth firms’ access to retail and institutional investors. Numis shares declined by 7p to 258.25p.
Instruments and controls designer Spectris (SXS) recorded sales of £563.2 million during the six months ended 30th June, a 4% improvement driven by the material analysis division. However, pre-tax profits dropped 16% to £49.2 million and management said that difficulties in the current trading environment mean that full year performance will be towards the lower end of expectations. Investec placed its recommendation and target price under review. Spectris shares jumped up by 31p to 1,979p.
Estate agency Countrywide (CWD) saw its shares fall 22p to 531p after publishing disappointing results for the first half of 2015. The company cited difficult condition in the property market for a 22% drop in profits, with transaction volumes also falling by 12%. Panmure Gordon commented that “the shares have been very volatile given their political sensitivity and rallied accordingly given the result. However visibility over earnings is lacking”.
Tomorrow’s news today
Berendsen (BRSN), COLT (COLT), Essentra (ESNT), International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), IMI (IMI), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY), Management Consulting Group (MMC), and UBM (UBM) are among the firms that will publish interim results tomorrow.
Quote of the day
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
– Steve Jobs