The FTSE 100 kicked off the third quarter with strong gains, in line with European stocks. Energy companies helped the FTSE 100 close up 1.2% at 7,125.16. Shares in Royal Dutch Shell increased 2.9% and BP rose 3.0%. Oil prices strengthened on Thursday while OPEC+ countries discussed new output quotas, and European natural-gas contracts reached new highs, reflecting a very tight market. Retailers, financials and airlines were also in the green. JD Sports led the FTSE 100's Thursday rally after forecasting a better-than-expected full-year pretax profit. Shares in the fashion company were up 5.4%. Conversely, London Stock Exchange fell 1.2% and was the worst performer of the session.
Grafton to Divest Traditional Merchanting Business in Great Britain for GBP520 Mln
Grafton Group PLC said Thursday that it has agreed to divest its traditional merchanting business in Great Britain to Huws Gray, for an enterprise value of 520 million pounds ($719.2 million).
Trident Royalties Enters $10 Mln Facility to Boost Balance Sheet
Trident Royalties PLC said Thursday that it has entered into a $10 million secured loan facility agreement with a syndicate managed by Tribeca Investment Partners, including the CNL Sprott Strategic Asset Fund and the company's chairman, Paul Smith.
Gresham Proposes GBP100 Mln Placing to Fund Project Acquisitions
Gresham House Energy Storage Fund PLC said Thursday that it has signed contracts to acquire a set of energy-storage projects, and proposed a 100 million-pound ($138.3 million) share placing to fund them.
Block Energy Chairman Re-Election Passed With Low Support at AGM
Block Energy PLC said Thursday that resolutions to reappoint Nonexecutive Chairman Philip Dimmock to the board and authorization to allot shares received low counts at the annual general meeting but were still approved.
Dolphin Capital Investors Appoints Martin Adams as Chairman
Dolphin Capital Investors Ltd. said Thursday that Martin Adams has been appointed as chairman.
Elliott Calls for Board Changes at GlaxoSmithKline Ahead of Consumer-Healthcare Spinoff -- Update
Elliott also urged the drugmaker to consider selling its consumer-healthcare business
Diverging Covid-19 Aftermath Leads Gap to Leave UK While Primark Capitalizes on Its Exit
AB Foods' Primark in 3Q more than offset lost sales on account of Covid-19, generating revenue of GBP1.61 billion
Activist Investor Elliott Pushes Shake-Up at GlaxoSmithKline
Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has intensified pressure on GlaxoSmithKline PLC, calling on the pharmaceutical giant to replace members of its board and launch a process to decide whether Chief Executive Emma Walmsley should continue to lead the group.
Abcam Says Underlying Performance Has Been Modestly Ahead of Expectations
Abcam PLC said Thursday that its underlying performance since March has been modestly ahead of its expectations.
AB Dynamics Chairman Tony Best Retires; Richard Elsy Named Successor
AB Dynamics PLC said Thursday that Nonexecutive Chairman Tony Best is retiring with immediate effect after an extended leave of absence due to ill health.
UK Funds Face Investor Exodus; UK-EU Finance Talks Fail
1315 GMT - Investors are pulling cash out of U.K. funds and putting it into continental European alternatives instead, according to a survey, as reports said the U.K. has failed to do a financial-services deal with the EU following its exit from the bloc. Investors removed GBP571 million from U.K. funds and put GBP101 million into European funds in May, according to Investment Association data cited by Hargreaves Lansdown. Global was the best-selling equity fund region. "U.K. funds was the only equity fund region that experienced outflows," says HL Acting Head of Investment Analysis Kate Marshall. Meanwhile, reports said U.K. finance minister Rishi Sunak told City bankers that a so-called EU-U.K. 'equivalence' deal, involving mutual regulatory recognition, "has not happened."
AO World's German Progress Bodes Well For Its Outlook
1226 GMT - AO World's progress in Germany leaves the household-appliance online retailer well-placed to expand further, says Interactive Investor. AO said its German business improved its gross margin and broke even in the third quarter, on an adjusted EBITDA basis. While pandemic and economic uncertainty shouldn't be overlooked, the German business's success is clearly good news, Interactive says. "The tailwind from the pandemic is strong and potential to expand further overseas still beckons, with an additional three European countries now in management's sights," Interactive analyst Keith Bowman says. "In all, while the shares aren't obviously cheap compared to rivals, ongoing long-term growth potential continues to steer analyst consensus opinion towards a buy."
Cambridge Cognition's Spinout Reflects Successful Strategy
1048 GMT - Neuroscience-software company Cambridge Cognition's completion of the spinout of its digital-phenotyping business, Monument Therapeutics, demonstrates the successful implementation of its strategy to focus on digital technologies for the clinical trials market, finnCap says. Cambridge retains a 36.9% shareholding in Monument, which raised GBP2.6 million in venture funding to focus on developing drugs to treat cognitive impairment, the brokerage says. "We increase our target price by 15 pence to 190 pence to reflect the retained equity interest in Monument as well as the early incremental value that this exposure offers investors, with further potential upside governed by the successful progress of Monument's pipeline," finnCap says. Shares are up 6.0% at 177.5 pence.
Rank Group Outperforms Views Overall, But Digital Disappoints
1031 GMT - Rank Group benefited from pent-up demand and performed slightly better than expected since its estate reopened, but its digital operations have disappointed, Shore Capital says. The FTSE 250 gambling group has been cash-flow positive in the six weeks following the reopening and revenue trends should improve as coronavirus restrictions are further lifted in England from July 19, Shore says. The one disappointment in Rank's update was digital, which missed expectations for further progress in the June quarter, the U.K. investment group says. "Digital is a key component of the growth strategy and we expect management will set out in the forthcoming results its plans to re-energise the operation," Shore says. Shares rise 2.2%.
Web, App Traffic Numbers Point to Encouraging 2Q for Just Eat Takeaway, Citi Says
1029 GMT - Web and app data bodes well for Just Eat Takeaway.com's orders in the second quarter, especially in the U.K. and Germany, but also suggests that recently-acquired Grubhub has lost share of web searches, Citi says. "There is a high correlation between web traffic and order growth trends in the U.K.; based on this, U.K. order growth could exceed Citi and consensus expectations," the bank says. The Amsterdam-based food-delivery group is now expected to deliver underlying order growth of 47% for 2021, compared with 43% previously, although earnings will take a hit from the rollout of grocery delivery and its response to fresh competition in Germany, Citi says. The bank raises its target price on the stock to EUR145 from EUR144.
UK's Manufacturing Sector Could Lose Momentum in 2H
1024 GMT - The current upswing in output of the U.K.'s manufacturing sector is being driven by companies panic-buying goods in order to rebuild their inventories, says Gabriella Dickens, senior U.K. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Demand for goods also remains high because Covid-19 is still dissuading consumers from spending on services at the level they did before the pandemic, she says. However, both of these factors supporting demand are temporary and will probably fade by the end of this year, leaving manufacturing output vulnerable to fall back by winter, Dickens says.
Cairn Homes' Strong Performance Leads to Forecast Upgrades
1015 GMT - Irish home builder Cairn Homes has issued a strong performance update, reflecting the sound strategic decisions and work-in-progress investment made when sites reopened in May last year, Goodbody says. Cairn's management has clear visibility on 2021 and 2022 targets given its excellent current performance and substantially increased order book, and in keeping with the new guidance Goodbody increases its fiscal 2022 earnings before interest and tax forecast by 4%, to EUR125 million. "The increased confidence on the outlook and the return of the dividend should be welcomed by the market," the brokerage says. Goodbody retains its buy recommendation. Shares are up 4.3% at 95.4 pence.
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