London’s FTSE 100 fell 2.1% to 6,855.4 points on Thursday following a sell-off in the US overnight as well as a tough session in Asia.

Across the pond, the Dow Jones index closed nearly 2% lower to post its worst performance since January after a surge in inflation in April spooked markets.

UK investors offloaded shares in oil producers and miners, perhaps taking profit in areas that have done well this year and locking in gains in case markets get even worse from here.

CORPORATE NEWS

In corporate news, luxury goods group Burberry (BRBY) slumped 7.7% to £19.43 despite resuming the full year dividend at 2019 levels on the back of strong cash generation, a jump in annual profit and a strong final quarter of the year.

Weighing on sentiment was the outlook statement, with Burberry warning the exiting of markdowns in mainline stores will weigh on sales in the new financial year and that operating margin progression will be impacted by higher costs and increased investment to accelerate growth, albeit with ‘more meaningful margin accretion thereafter’.

Telecoms giant BT (BT.A) cheapened 4.9% to 161p after it reported a fall in annual profit as revenue was hurt by the impact of the pandemic on its consumer and enterprise businesses.

For the year to March 2021, pre-tax profit fell 23% to £1.8 billion year-on-year as revenue slipped 7% to £21.3 billion.

No final dividend was declared for fiscal 2021, but BT expects payouts to resume at an annual rate of 7.7p per share in 2021/22 and will extend its full-fibre broadband network to 25 million premises by the end of 2026, up from 20 million previously.

IN OTHER NEWS

Elsewhere, private equity group 3i (III) softened 0.25% to £11.95 despite posting a sharp uptick in annual total returns as its private equity portfolio was up sharply.

Rolls-Royce (RR.) was off 1.1% at 104p, despite the aero-engineer being confident it can deliver permanent cost reductions after its restructuring last year, positioning the business well for the rebound in international air travel.

Ahead of its AGM on Thursday 13 May, the company said it is expecting its Spirit of Innovation all-electric aircraft will take to the air ‘within weeks’.

Housebuilder Countryside Properties (CSP) fell 2.9% at 492p on news of a drop a in first half profit as rising costs offset a jump in the revenue amid an ongoing increase in house prices.

For the six months to 31 March 2021, pre-tax profit fell to £38.8 million from £43.7 million year-on-year, while adjusted revenue increased to £661 million from £481.2 million.

ELEMENTIS EDGES HIGHER

Specialty chemicals company Elementis (ELM) edged up 1.1% to 142p on news it expects full year profits to come in towards the top end of market expectations following a strong, better than expected first quarter.

Online holidays retailer On The Beach (OTB) crashed 11.2% to 383.5p after extending its off-sale period for holidays from 30 June to 31 August 2021 following the announcement on the traffic light system for leisure travel, where most destinations have been classified Amber.

Logistics group DX (DX.AIM) was marked up 4.4% to 36p as it upgraded profit guidance following a stronger than expected performance since its interim results in March.

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Issue Date: 13 May 2021