Market report

Markets rise on China stimulus package


5pm: Blue chips edge higher

The FTSE 100 made a strong start to trading, but lost momentum to close the session just 8.23 points higher at 7,479.74.

Stocks were lifted amid positive reaction to China unveiling a $146 billion (£123bn) stimulus package for its struggling economy.

However, caution ahead of Jerome Powell’s (pictured) address to Friday’s Jackson Hole Summit and the energy price cap announcement meant London’s top index was just about treading water.

Hays: 117p +1.9p (1.66%)

Recruitment group Hays said fees rose 32% and operating profit was up 128% to £210.1 million in the year to the end of June.

UK & Ireland: fees up 31%; operating profit up 277% to £43.4m. Perm fees up an excellent 58%, Temp up 15%. Private sector, up 42%, significantly outperformed the Public sector, up 10%.

Alistair Cox, chief executive, said: “Performance in all regions was excellent. Our actions to capitalise on long-term structural opportunities, acute skill shortages and strong markets, supported by our ability to increase fee margins and the benefits of wage inflation, delivered record Group fees, 24 country records and 128% operating profit growth.”

Iomart appoints chair

Iomart Group, the Glasgow-based cloud computing company, has appointed Lucy Dimes as chair with effect from the closing of the AGM on 30 August, replacing Ian Steele who has decided not to stand for re-election.

Full story here

Macfarlane: 111.75p –2p (1.75%)

Packaging group Macfarlane has seen a slowdown in demand from e-commerce customers compared to last year and rising costs, but still expects growth for the full year.

It has announced the appointment of Aleen Gulvanessian as chair, succeeding Stuart Paterson steps down after nine years on the board. Ms Gulvanessian joined the board in October 2021 as chair of the remuneration committee. Full story here

DeepMatter: 0.1p No change

Mark Warne, CEO of digital chemistry data and software company DeepMatter, said a combination of a growing pipeline and the first half investment programme is expected to drive deal flow in H2 and deliver a stronger second half than H2 2021.

The Glasgow-based group incurred a half-year operating loss £1.81 million (H1 2021: loss £1.38 million).

Car production rises

Car production in the UK rose for a third straight month in July, up 8.6% on a weak comparative last year when car makers were struggling with acute shortages of chips and COVID-related absences.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 58,043 vehicles were made in Britain last month, up from 53,438 in July 2021.

But output remains 46.4% below pre-pandemic levels as the industry struggles with supply chain shortages, structural changes and weak exports.

Global markets

Major US indices posted gains after three consecutive days of losses, but remained cautious ahead of the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, where the Fed Chairman is scheduled to speak on Friday.

Markets seem to expect a more-hawkish tone from Jerome Powell after Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari reiterated that the central bank is committed to containing inflation and added that “his fear” is that it underestimates the persistence of inflationary pressures.

Despite the nervousness, the S&P 500 climbed 0.3% after the benchmark index fell for three straight sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average adde 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4%.

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