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M&G ‘makes good progress’ | Flutter | Oil price rebounds
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5pm: Optimism drives London higher
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson noted there was “cautious optimism” around the markets, outweighing concern about rising Delta variant rates in Asia.
In London, Paddy Power and Fanduel owner Flutter Entertainment rose 8.3%, after the gambling firm said it enjoyed a strong first half, with revenue growth driven by increased average monthly players.
Watches of Switzerland climbed 3.3% on the back of strong revenue.
The FTSE 100 closed 28.74 points higher at 7,161.04.
11am: Ex-Ibrox owner receives settlement
Former Rangers owner Charles Green has accepted a £6.39 million out of court settlement for being wrongfully prosecuted.
9am: London flat
The FTSE 100 was trading just in positive territory, up 2.5 points at 7,134.80 ahead of latest news on a US stimulus bill.
8.40am: OYNB exceeds crowdfund target
Supporters of One Year No Beer, which helps people change their relationship with alcohol, have helped it raise £500,000 in a crowdfund campaign within minutes of its launch.
The Crowdcube campaign swiftly raised 126% of its target to help the business scale up operations. The funding will be invested in new tech, provide world-class content on android and IOS apps and improve engagement with the community globally.
Wealth manager M&G has posted an half-year adjusted operating profit before tax of £327 million, up 6% on the first half of 2020 but an IFRS loss after tax of £248 million.
A dividend of 6.1p per share has been declared.
John Foley, chief executive, said: “Today’s results show good progress on our actions to reposition the business for sustainable growth and continued strong total capital generation.
“Institutional assets under management reached a record £89.7 billion following net client inflows of £2.2 billion, primarily from European clients.
“In Retail Asset Management, net client outflows more than halved as investment performance improved, with 63% of funds in the top two quartiles over one year.
“In July, we launched PruFund Planet, the UK’s first smoothed savings proposition that offers positive societal and environmental outcomes.
“The dividend of 6.1 pence per share takes the cumulative payout since our shares were listed in October 2019 to 40.1 pence per share.”
House builder Bellway said its order book has grown to record levels, but the number of houses built by the group remains shy of pre-pandemic levels.
In a trading update, the group said it completed 10,138 homes in the 12 months to the end of July. That was more than a third higher than in the same period a year earlier as completions were hit by the first 2020 lockdown.
However, the levels are still below the 10,892 homes completed by the firm in the year ending July 2019.
7am: Flutter gains from acquisition
First-half earnings at Paddy Power and Fanduel owner Flutter Entertainment rose 75% as the gambling group benefited from the acquisition of Stars in the US and restoration of sporting events as the Covid-19 crisis eased.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased to £597m from £342m in the six months to the end of June from a year earlier as revenue doubled to £3.05bn from £1.54bn.
7am: Beeks Financial
Markets technology firm Beeks Financial Cloud said it is on course to record growth in revenues and profits and has experienced good levels of trading in the second half of the year.
It has announced the launch of Proximity Cloud, a dedicated and client-owned trading platform.
Being hosted and managed on a client site, as opposed to within a Beeks facility, this new offering addresses a significant part of the market that was previously unavailable to the company.
7am: Intercontinental Hotels
InterContinental Hotels swung to a half-year profit of $138m from a loss of $233m in the same period a year ago.
Despite the improvement in trading, IHG said it will not be paying an interim dividend.
7am: abrdn sees cut in net outflows, buys AI business
Abrdn, formerly Standard Life Aberdeen, said it has reduced net outflows as it unveiled the acquisition of an AI business.
Abrdn is buying Exo Investing from Nucoro for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will help Abrdn develop an industry leading technology solution for investors, powered by the Nucoro Platform. It is expected to complete in Q4 2021.
Chief executive Stephen Bird said: “We have made a strong start to the year and our three-year growth plan.”
Global markets – oil price revives
Oil prices came off a three-week low in the previous session, though traders expect gains to be limited by concern that that rising COVID-19 cases and further restrictions in China will dent fuel demand.
China is the world’s top crude oil importer and some cities have stepped up mass testing in an attempt to stamp out the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The US Senate will vote on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill later today, which could stimulate demand for oil products.
Brent crude was up by 29 cents, or 0.4%, at $69.33 a barrel, after falling 2.3% on Monday. US oil was up by 46 cents, or 0.7%, at $66.94 a barrel, having fallen by 2.6% in the previous session.