The FTSE slips 41 points to 6,794 amid several blue chips going ex-dividend including Prudential (PRU), London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.).

Ongoing strength in the Americas region puts a shine on CRH’s (CRH) first half results and sends the shares up 3.9% to £25.64. The FTSE 100 construction group has upgraded its guidance for deleveraging the balance sheet thanks to strong levels of cash generation. Stockbroker Davy interprets €6 billion year-end net debt to mean net debt/EBITDA ratio below 2.0 times – CRH previously guided for 2.5 times.

TV and film rights business Entertainment One (ETO) is a big faller, down 13.5% at 217p, as it emerges mid-morning ITV (ITV) will not be returning with a higher bid after its 236p approach was rejected. ITV is up 1.6% to 205.1p.

Online gambling technology group Playtech (PTEC) jumps 3.5% to 931.25p on half year numbers that include a 57c (40p) special dividend on top of a 46c (40p) normal dividend. The accounts are a bit skewed by foreign exchange effects. Actual FX rates resulted in a 42% drop in net profit to €48.8 million. Playtech saw net profit increase by 84% if you assume no change to currencies in order to get a sense of how the business is performing.

Chinese medicine company Taihua (TAIH:AIM) surges by 100% to 2.25p on plans to raise money at more than twice yesterday’s share price. Investors are being given the chance to participate in an open offer, but the price seems deliberately high so as to put most people off. The new stock is being placed at 2.63p which is a 134% premium to last night’s close. It seems like a way to get a Chinese shareholder to pay a high price in order to increase their stake to 25.85% as they are underwriting the open offer.

Photovoltaic silicon wafers supplier PV Crystalox (PVCS) recovers from an initial share price slump to trade at 12.12p on news of ‘extreme pricing pressure’ in recent weeks. It warns that a decision to extend a strategic review may have to be rethought if conditions don’t improve soon. It has €24.8 million (£21.1 million) net cash which compares to a £19.2 million market cap, plus €12.7 million (£10.8 million) in inventories.

Luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo (CHOO) walks tall with a 6.2% gain at 125p as half year results reveal sales growth ahead of a difficult market as well as margin expansion. The British luxury brand flags a strong start to the second half in addition to a positive benefit from weaker sterling, while chairman Peter Harf says ‘the prospects for the business in its 20th year have never looked better’.

Construction group Henry Boot (BHY) advances 1% to 207p with investors encouraged by its bullish outlook in the wake of the Brexit vote. Henry Boot had a strong first half with pre-tax profit up by 48.6%. Trading since the referendum is proceeding as envisaged and the future pipeline is coming to fruition as expected.

BHP Billiton (BLT) spin-off South32 (S32) falls 2.4% to 113.75p on full year results despite declaring a maiden dividend. It posts a loss after tax of $1.6 billion.

Pizza and Greek restaurant operator The Fulham Shore (FUL:AIM) jumps 1.3% to 18.88p on news that four new outlets will open in its current financial year and trials for home delivery with Deliveroo are ‘encouraging’.


Issue Date: 25 Aug 2016