– The FTSE 100 fell 29.55 points to 6,680.55.
– The FTSE 250 dropped 30.02 points to 17,706.17.
– The FTSE All Share declined 13.21 points to 3,647.63.
– The FTSE AIM All Share finished 1.05 points lower at 766.61.
Annual UK wage growth in April was 2.7%, the highest rate since 2007. The figures from the Office for National Statistics were published alongside information that revealed that 43,000 more people were employed at the end of the month. However, analysts warned that this level of real wage growth is not sustainable unless productivity picks up.
Property developer Berkeley (BKG) improved its pre-tax profits by 42% to £539.7 million in the year ended 30th April, driven by higher property prices and strong volumes. The company supplies around 10% of new London housing stock and said that average prices in the city and the South of England were around 36% higher than a year earlier. While management were broadly positive about current and future trading, they did say that the threat of Britain leaving the EU posed a serious risk to business. Berkeley shares soared 323p to 3,481p.
Online gaming outfit Betfair (BET) boosted revenues by 21% to £476 million for the year ended 30th April, boosted by major sporting events including the 2014 World Cup and strong trading for major horse races. Pre-tax profits rose to £86.4 million from £51 million in the prior year as the company benefited from increased scale. The shares closed at 2,416p, down by 98p.
High street retailer JD Sports Fashion (JD.) said it has made a good start to its current financial year. Sales volumes in European markets are exceeding expectations, but weak exchange rates will have an impact on margins. The firm is confident that it can meet current full year guidance. Shares in JD Sport Fashion dropped 2p to 668p.
Investec has backed Premier Foods (PFD) and upgraded it from a “hold” to a “buy”. The broker upped its pre-tax profits forecast on the Mr Kipling owner by 3% for the next financial year. However, it also warned that the firm’s recovery could be short lived if rivals react aggressively to Premier’s improved market share. The stock closed the day at 42p, a 1.25p rise.
Following its first patent approval, shares in Advanced Graphene Materials (AGM) rose by 7.5p to 232.5p. The Japanese authorities have approved the company’s methods of manufacturing nanoplatelets and the patent remains pending in five other jurisdictions.
Shares in gold explorer Hummingbird Resources (HUM) dropped 9.33% to 34p after the firm completed a discounted placing that raised around £3.5 million. The funds will be used to develop the company’s Malian Yanfolio gold project.
Work Group (WORK) has been suspended from trading on AIM this morning after it opted to not release its results for 2014. The recruitment company has said that it will not publish the data until it completes a strategic review of its operations. The company suffered significant setbacks to its UK business last year.
Tomorrow’s news today
Poundland (PLND), Charles Stanley Group (CAY), and Darty (DRTY) are all due to report full-year results on Thursday.
UK retail data will be published, as will US trade and employment statistics.
Quote of the day
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
– Colin Powell