London’s blue-chip benchmark marks time at 7,436.5 points early on, failing to match the strong gains on Wall Street overnight and in Asia this morning.

However, heating and plumbing products distributor Ferguson (FERG) firms 3.1% to £50.15 on strong results for the year to July with good trading momentum continuing in the fourth quarter. Enjoying a tailwind in the US, where residential and commercial markets are favourable, Ferguson also launches a £500m share buyback programme, reflecting management’s confidence in the business and its cash generation.

Sofas-to-carpets retailer ScS (SCS) skips 10.1% higher to 175.5p after posting better-than-expected full year profit before tax of £12m, up 9.9% year-on-year. Exceeding expectations is a good achievement for ScS given the pressure on big ticket spending, while like-for-like order intake is up 3% in the opening 9 weeks of the new financial year.

Bakery food-on-the-go retailer Greggs (GRG) gains 13p at £12.63 on a tasty third quarter trading update, reporting like-for-like sales up 5% in the 13 weeks to 30 September. The value sausage rolls-to-coffees seller reminds investors that food ingredient cost pressures are a headwind, although it reckons the rate of increase will moderate towards the end of the year and leaves full year profit expectations unchanged.

Also in demand is Electrocomponents (ECM), which sparks up 14.5p to 653p. The electronic components-to-engineering consumables play says its good start to the year continued in the second quarter, with faster sales growth and market share gains delivered ‘across all five of our regions’. Brisk business and a boost from currency moves enable Electrocomponents to upgrade half year profit before tax guidance to ‘around £78m’, healthy growth on last year’s £55.1m haul.

Revolution Bars (RBG) cheapens 2.5p to 209p following a fall in full year profit after sales growth slowed and costs spiked. September was particularly disappointing, largely due to wet and cool weather compared to record temperatures a year ago. Revolution is the target of a potential takeover battle with Deltic Group still considering whether to make a cash offer to rival Stonegate's offer of 203p per share.

Coke brands bottler Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) is marked down 1.8% to £25.10, investors unsettled by the tragic news CEO Dimitris Lois has passed away.

Vehicle testing and measurement products designer AB Dynamics (ABDP:AIM) accelerates 3.9% higher to £6 on news sales and profits for the year to August will come in ‘slightly ahead’ of analysts’ forecasts.

Blood monitor-maker Deltex Medical (DEMG:AIM) improves 8.7% to 3.12p on news it has won a ‘significant new hospital account in the USA’, the sixth major hospital in the company’s Mid-Atlantic sales territory, where first half revenues grew more than 50%.


Issue Date: 03 Oct 2017