– The FTSE 100 rose 9.93 points to 6,844.80.
– The FTSE 250 dropped 72.84 points to 17,924.78.
– The FTSE All Share increased by 2.11 points to 3,727.59.
– The FTSE AIM All Share finished 0.74 points higher at 771.06.
Improved business margins have led to a 0.6% rise in French GDP for the first quarter, beating the 0.4% rate achieved across the whole of 2014. A cut to payroll taxes boosted company margins to 31.1%, the highest level since 2011. Consumer spending also increased sharply, but investment levels remained stagnant.
Consumer travel operator Stagecoach (SGC) saw its pre-tax earnings rise by 4.5% to £165.2 million for the year ended 30th April and the total dividend was upped to 10.5p. Management warned that operating margins were likely to decline after a number of years of strong profitability. Nomura maintained a “buy” rating with a 430p target price and forecast Stagecoach to deliver double-digit earnings growth in full-year 2016 and 2017, “with solid Bus returns set to be boosted in the midterm by the Megabus Europe expansion, supported by strong visible growth from the East Coast Rail franchise”. Shares in the company rose by 10.4p to 417p.
Eurasia Mining (EUA) shares surged 15% to 1.1p after the Russian Ministry for Natural Resources accepted its application for a mining licence for the West Kytlim project. This and the Prime Ministerial approval are the two remaining barriers before development can begin.
Societe Generale upgraded Sainsbury (SBRY) to “Buy” from “Hold” and increased its target price by 50p to 315p. The broker report said that the supermarket was well differentiated from its rivals and had a reasonably resilient profile. The bank also does not believe that there is any current need for a fresh rights issue. Sainsbury shares climbed 6.3p to 275.5p.
Defence outfit Ultra Electronics (ULE) continues to be impacted by the uncertainty surrounding the US budget and defence spending, but management said that full year results would remain in line with expectations. It also detailed new streamlining plans that will save the group around £20 million a year. Investec maintained a “buy” rating on the firm. Ultra Electronics shares closed at 1,863p, up 1p over the day.
Faroe Petroleum (FPM) said average daily production was 11,324 during the five months to the end of May. Average production costs per barrel were significantly decreased, falling to $22 due to increased throughput. Westhouse Securities reiterated a “buy” rating. The shares climbed 2.75p to 85.75p.
Tomorrow’s news today
On Thursday, Cohort (CHRT), Photo-Me International (PHTM), and Smith (DS) (SMDS) are due to post results.
The latest CBI Distributive Trades survey will also be published.
Quote of the day
“One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
– Benjamin Disraeli