London’s high-flying FTSE 100 opens on a positive note, up 28.4 points to 7,548.4 helped by sterling weakness against the dollar and euro.
In reverse however is bus and coach operator FirstGroup (FGP), marked down 6.1% to 140.7p. Although full year results show an improvement in pre-tax profit and cash generation, FirstGroup’s outlook statement is cautious, management flagging ‘opportunities for steady progress in the North American divisions but continued economic uncertainty in the UK’.
The FTSE 250 transport group is also continuing to try to understand the exact cause of the tram derailment in Croydon in which seven people died and many other passengers were injured.
Banking behemoth Barclays (BARC) rises 1.75p to 211.75p after increasing the size of its placing of shares in Barclays Africa (BAGL) to meet strong investor demand. The sale of a 33.7% stake in BAGL rakes in more than £2.2bn for Barclays in a move that will bolster the balance sheet.
Emission control systems and diesel powered car catalysts provider Johnson Matthey (JMAT) cheapens 52p (1.7%) to £30.60 despite full year profits meeting expectations. Investors are unimpressed by this year’s 6% sales growth target and the news profits will be impacted by higher pension charges and the absence of a US post-retirement medical benefit credit.
Luxury shoes seller Jimmy Choo (CHOO), which recently put itself up for sale, improves 2.5p to 200p on news the iconic British brand has traded strongly in 2017 to date. All categories have shown strong growth in the opening six months, men’s shoes remaining the star performer, and chairman Peter Harf says ‘the prospects for the business are stronger than ever’.
Haynes Publishing (HYNS) sparks up 11.6% to 182.5p on news it expects profits for the year to May to come in around 40% higher year-on-year. This stellar performance reflects the positive impact of sterling weakness as well as a significant turnaround of the business.