The FTSE100 index started the week marginally higher at 7,172 points in a session that looked likely to be subdued given US stock and bond markets were closed for the Labour Day holiday.

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.

In the UK, the IHS Markit/CIPS construction Purchasing Managers Index for August showed a slowdown in growth last month with the headline index declining from from 58.7 in July to 55.2, slightly below forecasts of a reading of 56 points.

COMPANY NEWS

Shares in property franchise and financial services group Belvoir  Group (BLV:AIM), were up 5% at 294p in early trading after 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.

Veterinary product maker Dechra Pharmaecuticals (DPH) announced an 81% increase in first half profit and revealed that 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 these strong numbers, the market focused instead on news that Chairman Tony Rice would leave the company, although he is staying in his position until a replacement is found.

Moreover, there are fears that demand for veterinary products may dissipate as the Covid pandemic induced a wave of animal adoption which may recede as social restrictions have now eased. Shares traded 7.4% lower at 4694p.

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 traded marginally lower at 401p in early dealing.

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 0.15% lower at 125.4p.

Shares in healthcare provider Totally (TLY) drifted 0.6% lower to 39p 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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Issue Date: 06 Sep 2021