Market report

Abrdn facing FTSE 100 exit | Costain mulls payout


Asset manager Abrdn is tipped for ejection from the FTSE 100 for the second time in 12 months as its shares slid by 30% in the last month.

The Edinburgh-headquartered company is on track to be demoted to the FTSE 250 at the end of August, according to FTSE Russell.

Abrdn returned to the blue chip index at the end of last year after being demoted in the summer.

A lukewarm response to its recent results saw its market value shrink to just over £3 billion, from £11bn at the time of the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017.

Abrdn is named along with Johnson Matthey, Persimmon and RS Group as “Indicative FTSE 100 Deletions.”

Changes will be based on data when the market closes on 29 August and will be announced after the market closes on the following day.

Costain dividend

 Construction and engineering company Costain may restore its dividend payments after a strong first-half performance in which is strengthened its balance sheet and refinanced debt.

Revenues were flat year-on-year at £664m in the six months to 30 June, but adjusted operating profits were up 7.1% at £15m.

Its net cash position improved to £132m, up from £96m the year before and £124m at the start of 2023. Meanwhile, pension deficit payments have been reduced.

The company, which provides infrastructure across the UK’s energy, water, transportation and defence markets, said paying an interim dividend is now under consideration by the board and an announcement will be made shortly.

Morgan Stanley fined

Ofgem has fined Morgan Stanley more than £5.4m because its energy traders communicated via their private phones when discussing transactions in the market.

The regulator said traders had used private WhatsApp discussions to talk about their jobs, therefore breaking a rule which requires their employer to hold on to all communications and hand them to Ofgem should the regulator request.

The fine is the first to be delivered in Britain under wholesale energy market integrity and transparency rules, Ofgem said.

Ithaca Energy

Ithaca Energy expects its North Sea production to fall next year as the government’s windfall tax has “severely dampened” its investment plans.

The company said it had been pausing or cancelling projects as a result of the energy profits levy which charges firms up to 75% on their UK earnings.

It suggested production from the Greater Stella Area would reduce by 5,000 barrels of oil a day from next year as drilling to maintain levels had not taken place.

London closes higher

Equity markets in London managed a positive close on Wednesday, despite underwhelming economic indicators from across Europe, with utility plays among the more buoyant sectors.

The FTSE 100 saw an increase of 0.68% to close at 7,320.53.

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