Daily Business Live

Kier placing; Brewin Dolphin; Rolls-Royce; Wood


10pm: Wall Street rebounds

All three of the key US stock indexes were sharply higher, bouncing back from three days of steep falls. The S&P 500 enjoyed its biggest percentage gain in over a month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 433.79 points, or 1.29%, while the S&P 500 was 49.46 points, or 1.22%, higher and the Nasdaq Composite took on 93.31 points, or 0.72% despite tech stocks being most exposed to the slump.

Tesla continued to slip, falling 3.1% on the Nasdaq after boss Elon Musk’s sudden rejection of cryptocurrency bitcoin over environmental issues. Tesla’s shares sank 3.2% to $571.08, their lowest level in over two months.

5pm: London claws back losses

London shares staged a late relief after plunging in early trade.

Danni Hewson AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “What a difference a day makes.  US markets have mostly brushed off yesterday’s losses and put the box marked “concerns on inflation” under the table for now. 

“Even tech stocks are rising off the back of better than expected job figures and for much of the morning all 30 stocks on the Dow Jones were in the green.

“Wall Street’s rally was just the tonic London markets needed and even the FTSE 100 looked a completely different beast from this morning, by the end of the day it was only 41 points down at 6963 – such a turnaround from earlier you’d be forgiven for wondering if you’d dreamt it.  But instability will be the watchword for a while.

“Investors are having trouble weighing the good economic news from the disconcerting.  But despite the uncertainty, deals are being done, jobs are being created and restrictions relaxed even more. Pent up demand is a good thing, it’s just markets don’t want too much of a good thing.”

11.15am: ICL raising funds – possible IPO

ICL Therapeutics, a Glasgow-based drugs development company, is raising £3.5m ahead of a possible IPO next year.

Full story here

10am: DataVita deal

DataVita, Scotland’s largest data centre and multi-cloud services provider, has acquired the Fortis data centre in Lanarkshire.

Full story here

9.45am: Scottish Mortgage Trust – ‘strongest year’

Baillie Gifford’s Scottish Mortgage Trust, best known for retiring James Anderson’s spectacular gains on its early faith in Tesla, has posted its strongest ever year return.

Full story here

9.30am: Menzies stake

Menzies Distribution has announced that food retailing veteran Charles Wilson has acquired a significant stake in the company and joined the board.

Full story here

9am: Williams backs ski school

Skyscanner founder Gareth Williams has joined the latest investment round for ski-ing instructor marketplace, Maison Sport.

Full story here

8.45am: FTSE plunges

London shares fell sharply as forecast in early trade following a weak session on Wall Street after an unexpected spike in US inflation (see below).

The FTSE 100 plunged 134 points (1.92%) to trade at 6,870.36.

7am: BT

BT said full-fibre broadband should be extended to 25 million premises over the next five years through its Openreach independent network arm.

But one analyst says the group is putting ‘signifiant strain’ on its resources.

Full story here

7am: Kier raises funds


Construction group Kier is to raise £241 million via a placing and open offer to help underpin the balance sheet.

Andrew Davies, CEO, commented: “Today’s proposed capital raise represents the final milestone in the Group’s strategy to simplify the Group; to improve cash generation; and to strengthen our balance sheet.

“This capital raise will provide Kier with the financial and operational flexibility to continue to pursue our strategic objectives, within our chosen markets, and to facilitate investment in the business to help drive sustainable, profitable organic growth and the achievement of our medium-term financial targets.”

7am: Brewin Dolphin

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin reported record total discretionary fund inflows in Q2 of £1bn and said total funds in the first half to 31 March increased by 10.5% to £52.6bn (FY 2020: £47.6bn).

Total income increased by 13.7% to £199.9m (H1 2020: £175.8m), driven by strong market performance and elevated levels of commissions.

Adjusted profit before tax came in 28.8% higher at £47m.

The board has declared an interim dividend of 4.6p per share payable on 11 June.

Robin Beer, chief executive, said: “In the first half of 2021 we delivered an excellent set of results driven by record fund inflows in Q2 and the outperformance of our clients’ investments during a strong market recovery.

“The consistency of our inflow performance throughout the pandemic demonstrates we have a resilient business model.

“Our strong financial momentum and the good progress made on our strategic priorities in the first half of the year gives me confidence for the remainder of the year.”

7am: Rolls-Royce


Aero engine maker Rolls-Royce said it expected to turn cash-flow positive in the second half as airline travel recovered from the Covid pandemic.

In a trading statement ahead of the AGM it said revenue was largely driven by demand for cargo flights and the maintenance of key routes with and “broadly unchanged from the run rate at the end of 2020 and consistent with our planning assumptions”.

Rolls said it expected to stop leaking cash outflows “at some point during the second half of 2021, as engine flying activity recovers and cost savings are delivered”.

7am: Wood Group

Robin Watson

Energy services group Wood said the order book was up 9% in the first quarter.

Ahead of the AGM chief executive Robin Watson , pictured, said: “Our outlook for 2021 is unchanged.

“Increased consulting activity and strength in operations, supported by an improving order book, are expected to partly offset lower projects activity.

“The successful delivery of our Future Fit programme and an increased proportion of higher margin consulting revenues will deliver a full year margin improvement.”

Pipeline back in production

Fuel will start flowing through the Colonial Pipeline again, the company announced on Wednesday – six days after America’s largest pipeline closed down due to a ransomware attack.

Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia were among areas hit by fuel shortages as more than 10,000 gas stations ran dry.

Despite the resumption of supplies, Colonial warned that it would take time to get the 5,500-mile pipeline fully operational.

It said in a statement: ‘It will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. 

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