The FTSE 100 opens in positive territory, up 8.8 points to 7,422.41 thanks in particular to gains in mining stocks and various financial services companies.
At the top of the FTSE leaderboard is equipment rental firm Ashtead (AHT), rising 5.9% to £17.84 after releasing good results for its first quarter to 31 July and amid hopes it will benefit from hurricane clean-up work in the US.
Its group rental income increased by 17% to £828.8m and underlying pre-tax profit grew by 21% to £238.5m. Chief executive Geoff Drabble says: ‘it is too early to attempt to quantify the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma accurately on our business. However, it is evident that it will result in an increase in demand for our fleet.’
Sportswear seller JD Sports (JD.) continues to be a rare positive story in the retail sector. Its shares gain 9.3% to 374.35p after revealing a 41% hike in revenue and 22% increase in operating profit to £1.36bn and £103.3m respectively. The figures come from the firm’s results for the 20 weeks to 29 July.
AA says it ‘regularly reviews all strategic options, including whether a spin-off of any of its business lines would unlock further value and be in its shareholders' interests’. Hastings says it is no longer in talks with AA.
Housebulder Redrow (RDW) is down 8.1% to 581p as its founder and chairman Steve Morgan sells a 7% stake in the business for £152.8m. Morgan last week said he would ‘ease back’ from a full time executive role towards a non-executive position.
Research tools specialist Oxford Instruments (OXIG) is down 5.2% to £10.79 as it releases its chairman’s AGM statement. This states for the first five months of the year revenue and operating profit at constant currency is behind last year due to lower optical microscopy sales and an increased in the proportion of sales from items that take longer to make.
Shares in restaurant chain Tasty (TAST:AIM) fall 11.9% to 37p as the company says life has not got any better since it issued a profit warning earlier this year. It says that due to a weak trading environment it is ‘facing pressure on sales and margins’. The company believes that the ‘sector as a whole has been suffering due to a slowdown in consumer spending since the beginning of 2017 and this is set to continue into 2018'.
Audio visual distributor Midwich (MIDW:AIM) ticks up 6.6% to 420p on releasing a strong set of half year results to 30 June. Revenues are up 33.6% to £211.6m with adjusted pre-tax profits up 35.6% to £10.3m both on a year on year basis. Read our recent article on why we like this stock.