After trading sideways last week, the FTSE100 started the week in a positive mood with investors happy to bid up cyclical stocks even as US equity and bond markets were closed for the Labour Day holiday.
By the close, the benchmark index was up 50 points or 0.7% to 7,190 points, just shy of its all-time high of 7,224 in August, led by industrial and consumer stocks on hopes of further central bank support for markets in the wake of weak US jobs figures on Friday.
In Asian markets, the resignation of Japanese prime minister Yoshide Suga proved a catalyst for continued strength in the Nikkei 225 index, which ended last week at a four-month high as investors anticipated a new leader would usher in a new stimulus programme.
Rowing against the tide were shares in FTSE 250 veterinary drug maker Dechra Pharmaecuticals (DPH), in spite of the firm posting an 81% increase in first half profit and annoucing trading had been stronger than expected.
In the year to June, revenue rose 21% to £608 million with underlying operating earnings up by 27% to £177m. The group increased its final dividend by 18.1% to 40.5p a share.
Despite the strong results, investors took profits after gains of more than 50% already this year. The market also focused on the news chairman Tony Rice was set to leave the company. Shares traded 7.4% lower at £46.70.
Shares in property franchise and financial services group Belvoir Group (BLV:AIM) gave up their 5% opening pop to trade down 4% at 269p, despite the firm announcing a 51% increase in first half earnings.
Pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of June rose from £3.2 million to £4.8 million. Revenue increased by 41% to £13.8 million. The results enabled the group to raise the interim dividend to 4p from 3.4p.
Technology investment group HG Capital Trust (HGT) posted a positive first half performance ahead of its benchmark. For the six months to June, the company’s total NAV (net asset value) return per share was 21%, well ahead of the 11.1% return for the FTSE All Share index. Shares dipped 0.9% to 398p over lunchtime.
Green energy investor The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) announced the acquisition of four photovoltaic sites in Cadiz, Spain, with a total capacity of 234 MW.
The investments are designed to enhance the firm's technological and geographical diversification. The projects are being built by Norwegian utility Statkkraft, with construction expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2022. Shares in the group were 0.4% lower at 125p.
Shares in healthcare provider Totally (TLY) fell 4.4% to 37.5p despite the company maintaining that long Covid cases are a growth opportunity.
The group said trading was trading in line with market expectations. Significantly the group’s strong balance sheet and cash position leave it well placed to pursue acquisition opportunities.
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