The FTSE 100 trades 41.71 points higher at 6,532 as Shanghai’s blue chip index closed 5.7% higher after China’s regulator banned those holding 5% of a company’s equity from selling their shares. China is a major metals buyer and miner Rio Tinto (RIO) climbed 1% higher to £25.08 on the news.
The FTSE also continues to feel the effects of yesterday’s Budget. HSBC (HSBA) and emerging market bank Standard Chartered (STAN) advance following news that the bank levy will fall over the next six years to 0.1% when it will no longer be linked to non-UK assets. HSBC trades 1.4% higher at 567.2p, with Standard Chartered rising 1.3% to 997p.
Housebuilders bounce back after what appears to be an overdone reaction to curbs imposed on the buy-to-let market in the Budget. Leading the sector higher in the FTSE 100 is Persimmon (PSN), adding 2.5% to £19.23. This is closely followed by Taylor Wimpey (TW.) which bounces back 2.4% to 180.5p. Elsewhere in the housebuilding space, Barratt Developments (BDEV) nudges 2% higher to 606.5p after an interim management statement from the group cites a 10.8% increase in completions and a rise of 8% in private average selling prices achieved in the year to the end of June. Profit before tax at the £5.8 billion cap rose 45% to £565 million.
Recruiter Hays (HAS) gains 2% to 160p as net fee income, a key measure of growth, increases 5% year-on-year in the quarter ending 30 June 2015. Permanent recruitment, up 9%, was the biggest driver of performance in the period. Chief executive Alistair Cox reiterates a target for the business to be debt-free within the next 12 months.
Associated British Foods (ABF) rises 3% to £30.17 as the running Play of the Week assures it is on course to achieve full-year guidance for a modest decline in earnings per share. Though the Primark owner says like-for-like sales have been held back by new store cannibalisation in Holland and Germany, the statement notes positive performances in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the UK and a first US store opens in September.
Online gambler GVC (GVC:AIM) has proposed to pay 110p per share to buy rival Bwin.Party (BPTY), but the market still has doubts the deal will succeed, given the latter at 101.5p is trading below the indicative offer level.
Meanwhile, fashion retailer SuperGroup (SGP) skips 4.4% (55p) higher to £12.96 as annual results include a positive first quarter trading update, revealing 20.3% retail like-for-like sales growth. The Superdry brand owner also excites with the announcement of a joint venture in China, the world's most populous market, with local partner Trendy International.
Bargain Booze-to-Wine Rack brand owner Conviviality Retail (CVR:AIM) suspends dealings on AIM after confirming it is looking at acquiring Matthew Clark, the UK's biggest drinks supplier to the nation's pubs. For more on the Conviviality Retail growth strategy, read our Griller article with CEO Diana Hunter here.
A 6.6% rise in revenue to £1.08 billion in the six months to the end of June failed to enthuse investors in UK and Ireland-based builders’ merchant Grafton (GFTU) which sees shares declining 5.9% to 722p. With anticipated momentum in growth in the UK failing so far to gain traction, margin pressure and weaker pricing in the UK plumbing and heating market are likely to remain concerns.
Yesterday’s Budget brought bad news for wind power expert Infinis (INFI). Its shares fall 8.8% to 164.25p today after saying the Chancellor's decision to discontinue the Climate Change Levy exemption for renewable generators will slash its earnings. We looked at company in detail last month.
Controversial trading platform Plus500 (PLUS:AIM), which is the subject of a 400p a share bid from gaming specialist Playtech (PTEC), says full-year profit will be 'significantly lower' than last year. Regulatory compliance linked to enrolling new customers onto its platform reduced trading activity in the first six months of the year and margins are also down on higher customer acquisition costs. Shares in the stock open 1.8% higher at 392p.
Mobile marketing play and running Play of the Week InternetQ (INTQ:AIM) is up 8.5% to 301.5p as it raises €17 million for its Akazoo music streaming service. The investment, from Toscafund Asset Management and Penta Capital, gives an implied valuation of €104 million to the Akazoo business with InternetQ retaining a 69% stake in the company.