Market report

Taylor Wimpey eyes top of forecast | Hiscox | Iomart


5pm: London rises

The FTSE 100 closed 36.57 points higher at 7,445.68, carried by a rise on Wall Street as tensions with China around US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan eased and investors refocused on recent robust earnings reports.

BP and Shell were lifted by the Opec+ decision to open the taps, though critics said the 100,000 barrels a day was not enough to bring down the price of oil.

Engine maker Rolls-Royce was up 3.41% after the Spanish government approved the sale of its ITP Aero subsidiary to a consortium of investors led by Bain Capital Private Equity.

Virgin Money UK was lifted 2% by an upgrade to ‘outperform’ at Macquarie

Taylor Wimpey: 126.3p + 6.60p (5.5%)

Taylor Wimpey

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said demand remains strong and exceeds supply and it expects operating profit to be at the top end of forecasts.

Operating profit for the half year to 3 July came in flat at £424.6 million while pre-tax profit rose 16.3% to £334.5m (2021: £287.5m).

The company announced an interim dividend of 4.62 pence per share.

Jennie Daly, CEO, commented: “I am pleased to report an excellent financial and operational performance with completions in the first half slightly ahead of expectations . This was a very good performance against a strong comparator.

“While we recognise and are closely monitoring wider macro-economic and political uncertainty, housing market fundamentals remain positive, supported by an enduring supply and demand imbalance and good availability of attractively priced mortgages.

“Demand for our homes remains strong and we now expect full year Group operating profit to be around the top end of the current market consensus range.

Iomart: 172.5p + 3.80p (2.25%)

Iomart Group, the Glasgow-based cloud computing company, has acquired Concepta Capital, a holding company of a group of companies which includes the ORIIUM and Pavilion IT brands, for an initial cash consideration of £10.5m and a potential total of £14.5m. Full story here

Hiscox: 866.5p – 5.80p (0.66%)

Insurer Hiscox swung to a loss of $107.4 million in the half-year to 30 June from a profit of $133.4m last time.

It suffered an investment loss of $214.1m, after a gain of $61.9m a year earlier. It put the poor investment result down to “to interest rates rising sharply, credit spreads widening, and equity markets selling off.”

Gross written premiums increased 9.2% year-on-year to USD2.65 billion from USD2.43 billion. Its combined ratio improved to 91.3% from 93.1%, the lower figures Hiscox is making more profit from its underwriting operations.

Hiscox said it estimates its loss from the Ukraine and Russia conflict is USD48 million, net of reinsurance.

Global markets

US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan hung over stock markets as it prompted a hostile response from Beijing. The S&P 500 fell 0.67 % and the Nasdaq 100 edged 0.3% lower.

Taiwan is home to the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of semiconductors, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and peer United Microelectronics. Shares of the companies fell 2.4% and 3%, respectively. 

Taiwan stocks dropped 1.6%, marking their biggest percentage decline in three weeks, while Chinese stocks posted their biggest fall in more than two months on the mounting geopolitical tensions.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo closed up 0.5%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.3%, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was 0.5% higher.

In London, the UK blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed down 4.31 points at 7,409.11.

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