UK stocks opened higher on Tuesday, led by a rally in mining stocks spurred by China stimulus hopes. The FTSE 100 index is trading up 34 points to 7,410.
Shares in over 50's services group Saga (SAGA) lead the FTSE350, shooting up 6.6% to 44p following news that it has joined forces with Goldman Sachs’ unit Marcus, to offer long-term savings products.
Saga and Marcus will launch new products together from autumn 2019.
Marcus launched in the UK in September 2018 with an easy-access savings account and now had over 250,000 customers in the UK.
'This announcement is one of several strategic initiatives by the group that are aimed at returning Saga to its heritage of delivering high quality products and services to its customers,' Saga said.
At the other end of the spectrum, shares in troubled retailer Ted Baker (TED) are off by 26% to 991p, as it warns on profit after 'extremely difficult' trading conditions limited its sales growth in the year to date to 3.8%.
Underlying pre-tax profit for the year through 25 January are now expected to be in the range of £50m to £60m, compared with £72.4m according to consensus compiled by Reuters Eikon. At the middle of the new range, the shortfall is 24%, roughly in-line with the share drop today.
On a fairly quiet day for results, Crest Nicholson (CRST) reports first-half pre-tax profits down 11% as rising input costs and the company's strategy to de-risk its open market sales programme by pre-selling more homes hurt margins.
The strategy shift, however, helped the homebuilder maintained its full-year guidance. Its shares rise 2p to 259p.
It reports a forward order book up 2.7% to 6,312 homes, enough to secure next year’s growth targets.
Adjusted pre-tax profit, which excluded the exceptional costs, rises an impressive 39% to £30.3m.
The company also proposes a final dividend a share of 6p up 50% and takes the full year dividend to 8.5p, up 42%. Its shares are trading down 8p at 596p.
Shares in security equipment maker Halma (HLMA) get a 2% hike after it reports annual profits up 20% as revenues reached record levels, led by strong growth in its infrastructure division amid a 'significant' boost from acquisitions.
For the 12 months to 31 March, pre-tax profits rose 20% to £206.7m and revenue increased 13% to £1.2bn.
Growth was led by infrastructure division, where revenue increased by 17% to £409m, including 11% organic constant currency growth and a 6% contribution from acquisitions. It’s shares are trading up 2% to £19.39.
In other news, Food service group Compass (CPG) reports that it has signed an agreement with Fazer Group to acquire Fazer Food Services in a deal worth approximately €475m.
Over the twelve-month period to 30 April 2019, Fazer Food generated turnover of €593.0m and earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €39.8m.
The initial cash consideration is estimated to be €420m with the remaining deferred consideration payable within seven years should Fazer meet earn-out performance milestones.
The proposed acquisition required EU Commission competition approval, a process which could take several months, Compass said.