UK shares closed near the highs of the day despite another weak opening in the US with the technology focused Nasdaq 100 index down a further 2.8% at the UK close.

Shares in General Electric fell 7% after the company missed revenue estimates amid supply chain challenges.

Software giant Microsoft is expected to release earnings after the close while tomorrow investors will get the latest interest rate decision from the US Federal Reserve.

At the close the FTSE 100 index was up 1% to 7,372 led by mining and financial stocks, while utilities and staples, which provided a hiding place during the sell-off, eased back.

COMPANY NEWS

After their best day for many months yesterday, shares in consumer goods group Unilever (ULVR) dipped 0.2% to £39.36 after chief executive Alan Jope presented a new corporate structure to make the firm simpler and ‘more category-focused’.

The firm said the new model would result in the loss of around 1,500 managerial jobs, making it quicker for it to respond to changes in channel and consumer demand.

Shares in Royal Mail (RMG) gained 1.2% to 452.9p after the firm reported a sharp increase in parcel volumes and revenues for the third quarter to December as well as a solid increase in turnover at its GLS logistics business.

The company said its Pathway to Growth restructuring programme had delivered £35 million of cost savings during the quarter and it was on track to deliver between £55 million and £80 million of benefits in the financial year to March.

Social housing energy services firm Sureserve (SUR:AIM) posted its first results under new chief executive Peter Smith, with a 25% increase in revenues and a 77% jump in pre-tax profits for the year to September.

During the year the firm won a record 167 contracts values at £147 million, and as it stands almost three quarters of this year’s revenue is already covered by the order book. Investors approved, sending the shares 5% higher to 90.7p.

Shares in diagnostics company Novacyt (NCYT:AIMfared less well, compounding yesterday’s 12% fall by dropping another 22.5% to 185.1p after its first results under new chief executive David Allmond.

While the results were as expected, the firm’s view that Covid-related sales could be 50% below last year’s level disappointed investors, as did the lack of certainty around product approval and availability.

Car parts supplier TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) said it expected revenues for the full year to December to come in just shy of €3 billion with an average margin on EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of 7% or slightly higher. The shares slipped 0.4% to 240p.

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Issue Date: 25 Jan 2022