Former state-owned postal service Royal Mail (RMG) reports a 6% fall in annual adjusted profit on Thursday. It also warns that continuing declines in letter volumes this year would be at the high end of a previous estimate if business uncertainty persists. But it does up its full year dividend payment 4% to 23p per share, soothing investor concerns. The shares rally 3.3% to 445p, heading the FTSE 100 leader board in early trades.

The wider market weakens from its recent record-setting run, the FTSE 100 index dipping around 28 points, or 0.38%, to 7,475, showing similar declines to Wednesday.

Tour operator Thomas Cook (TCG) posts a rise in six month revenue in line with expectations. The company says it is seeing strong customer demand across most of its markets ahead of its key summer season, pushing the stock 1.5% higher at 95.4p.

Shares in industrial laundry services provider Berendsen (BRSN) soars nearly 30% as a takeover offer comes in and is swiftly rejected by management. This is an improved offer from European textiles business Elis worth 440p and 0.426 shares in Elis. Management claim the offer ‘very significantly undervalues Berendsen and its prospects.’

British fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) sees assets rise by 10% in the four months to the end of April, buoyed by new fund and product launches and improved investor sentiment. Chairman Mike Evans also reveals his decision to leave the company after nearly eight years in the job. He’ll go when a suitable replacement has been identified. The shares trade 10p higher at £13.57.

British fashion brand business Burberry (BRBY) reports a 21% slump in underlying pre-tax profit to £462m for the year to 31 March 2017. That’s about in line with expectations, judging by the rough 1% share price rise to £16.60. The group’s performance was dragged down by weak wholesale demand in the United States. This is further evidence of the stiff task facing incoming CEO Marco Gobbetti when he takes the top job in July.

Companies going ex-dividend today include HSBC (HSBA), Imperial Brands (IMB) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB), which will all trade without entitlement to their latest dividend payout, trimming 20.3 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations.

Shares in AIM-listed video security systems provider IndigoVision (IND:AIM) rally 10% to 198.5p as the company notes a positive start to fiscal 2017, with software licence volumes increasing 28% in the first four months to 30 April.

Issue Date: 18 May 2017