Reckitt rocks FTSE | Virgin Money margins boost| Menzies
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5pm: Reckitt rocks market
London’s leading index was led lower as global growth concerns continued to rattle equity markets.
Household products company Reckitt Benckiser‘s shares slumped 8.4% as it cautioned on cost inflation.
Shares in Daily Record and Daily Express owner Reach rallied almost 5% to trade at 328.25p, hitting the highest level since 2007 after a confident half-year statement.
It said trading is ahead of market expectations with a strong digital performance and recovery in circulation sales.
The FTSE 100 slid in early trade but closed off its lows at 6,996.08, down 29.35 points (0.42%).
1pm: Stagecoach jobs
Bus operator Stagecoach is to create 80 jobs at a new customer contact centre within the group’s Perth headquarters.
7am: Menzies trading strongly
John Menzies said it continues to trade slightly ahead of current market expectations. Regional variations exist with ground services in Europe particularly weak but this is offset by encouraging trading elsewhere driven by new business gains, a generally strong performance within air cargo services, extremely tight cost management and additional support from government schemes.
The first six months of the year has been very strong and significantly ahead of last year. In May it commenced a new air cargo services contract for Avianca Airlines in Miami, USA, which is the largest single air cargo services contract the Group has ever secured. Operations have started very well.
As outlined in its statement in May 2021, it continues to pursue strategic priorities and have a number of business development opportunities in play.
7am: FirstGroup CEO to leave
Matthew Gregory has informed the FirstGroup board of his intention to step down as chief executive at the conclusion of the company’s AGM on 13 September.
His departure follows pressure from major shareholder Coast Capital. On Monday the 14% shareholder called for Mr Gregory’s resignation, along with two other board members.
The board has announced its intention to increase the proposed return of value to shareholders.
7am: Virgin Money margin up
Net interest margin increased at Glasgow-based Virgin Money, owner of Clydesdale Bank, in the third quarter. Personal lending grew 2.5% to £5.2bn driven by growth in credit cards as activity picked up, but business lending was 2.4% lower at £8.7bn.
Chief executive David Duffy said: “We have increased full-year NIM guidance and, while COVID continues to impact the near-term, we have a strong capital position and robust provisions.
“We see great opportunities from further developing our digital capabilities to deliver an improved customer experience and greater efficiencies. We are well placed to grow profitably next year as we play our role to support the UK economic recovery.”
Global markets – Tesla hits £1bn milestone
US stocks were in cautiously optimistic mode ahead of big technology earnings reports. Tesla posted a strong set of results after the closing bell, including net income topping $1bn for the first time and earnings per share tripling.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones both rose 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite just edged into positive territory as investors await earnings reports from Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet (Google) this evening.
The Shanghai Composite in China slipped 0.40% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slumped 2.05%
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lifted 0.35% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.24%.