The FTSE 100 opens up 102.13 points to 6,990.82 following strong trading in the US and Asian markets. This may indicate that fears of a trade war between the US and China are dissipating.
Building material distributer Ferguson (FERG) leads the FTSE 100 gainers as its share price is up 5% to £53.89. Its results for the half year to 31 January show a 10.3% growth in revenue to £10.03bn with a 15% hike in ongoing trading profit to $698m. The company has also proposed a $4 per share special dividend on top of a 10% increase in its interim dividend to $.0.574.
Pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ticks up 2.8% to £13.242 on announcing it has agreed to buy Novartis’ 36.5% stake in their consumer healthcare business for $13bn. The deal is subject to shareholder approval although the company’s board intends to unanimously recommend that shareholders vote in favour of the transaction.
UK bus and rail operator Stagecoach (SGC) declines 2.5% to 127.95p as it reports falling revenue in its bus business for its financial year ending 28 April. The company says that its earnings per share figure has not changed since announcing interim results in December last year. The company’s like-for-like revenue at its rail division excluding South West Trains grew by 3.2% in the 44 weeks to 3 March although its North America year-to-date revenue is down 0.6%.
Men’s suit retailer Moss Bros (MOSB) fades 1.8% to 45.9p on news that it’s cutting its final dividend after a 6.1% decline in pre-tax profits to £6.7m. The company’s results for the year to 27 January 2018 states it had a poor end to the year with poor December footfall and the consolidation of suppliers has led to stock shortages.
Real estate investment company McKay Securities (MCKS) gains 6.1% to 263p after pre-letting 30 Lombard Street in the City of London to wealth manager St James Place (STJ). The deal will increase McKay’s rental income by 14% and represents 10% of the company’s estimated rental value.
Oil equipment company Gulf Marine Services (GMS) drops 5.1% to 35.1p after revealing a 37.1% drop in revenue to $112.9m for its year ending 31 December 2017. The company’s adjusted gross profit is down by 54.7% to $43.3m.
The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) is down to $58.5m compared to $106.6m in 2016 in what is described as a ‘challenging market environment’.
On the AIM market, pharmaceutical company Alliance Pharma (APH:AIM) ticks up 2.3% to 68.1p after releasing a solid set of 2017 results. For the year ending 31 December 2017, the company’s revenue is up 6% to £103.3m, while EBITDA increases 3% to £26.8m. Alliance has reduced its net debt by £3.8m to £72.3m despite spending £16m on acquisitions and is proposing a final dividend of 0.888p per share, a 10% hike on 2016’s figure .