The FTSE 100 is largely flat at 7,363 in early trade on Thursday as Associated British Foods (ABF) talks up prospects after a better-than-expected performance at Primark. That sends the stock shooting to the top of the Footsie leader board, up nearly 5% to £30.65. The discount fashion chain is clearly doing better than many on UK high streets, as Shares reveals in today’s cover story.
Going the other way is British consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser (RB.). Its share price heads the losers list of the blue chip index, down close on 3% at £75.27, after the group downgraded its growth forecast. This comes in response to last month’s global ransomware cyber attack (WannaCry), which disrupted the manufacture and distribution of its products to customers in multiple markets.
After upbeat comments on the UK housing market yesterday, Bovis (BVS) announces that it has earmarked an additional £3.5m to fix problems related to many of its previously built homes. Bovis was the subject to two failed takeover bids earlier this year after it warned on profits. The shares nudge 1.4% higher on Thursday to 983p.
Online food delivery company Just Eat (JE.) has named its new chief executive officer. Alliterative Peter Plumb, the former CEO of price comparison site operator Moneysupermarket.com (MONY), will take up the take up the top job on 18 September, news which does little for the share price, which remains largely flat at 675p.
Shares in Lloyd's of London insurer Novae (NVA) leap 22% to 707.5p as the company agrees a £467.6m takeover. The offer comes from AXIS Capital, a Bermuda-based specialty lines insurer and reinsurer, as is a straight cash deal.
Biotech Oxford BioMedica (OXB) has agreed a gene therapy distribution deal with Swiss pharma giant Novartis. Investors like the news, bidding the share price 4% higher at 10.25p, which builds on the October 2014 collaboration agreement between the pair, and bolsters hopes of commercial launch of BioMedica’s CTL019 therapy later this year.
Chasing late payments will be needed by digital documents security business Blancco Technology (BLTG:AIM) as the company reveals a cash pinch. Blancco is taking a £2.2m provision against £3.5m of tardy cash income, which will drag on earnings performance in the year to 30 June. The company flags EBITDA of £7m for that period, versus previous market forecasts of £8.9m, estimated by analyst at Peel Hunt, a miss that sparks a near 15% slump in Blancco’s shares to 128.5p. The stock had been trading at more than 300p as recently as March.