There’s a major business shake-up underway at Rolls-Royce (RR.) as the FTSE 100 aero-engineer confirms that it will cut 4,600 jobs as part of a plan to simplify its business and save £400m a year by the end of 2020.
Those hoped-for streamlined costs go down well with investors, sending the stock more than 3% higher in early trade on Thursday to 854p, topping the FTSE 100 leader board.
Rolls’ CEO Warren East believes that the creation of a more streamlined organisation with pace and simplicity at its heart will the group generate ‘higher returns while being able to invest for the future.’
That fails to prevent early trading losses for the FTSE 100 index, which declines around 30 points in early deals to 7,671.66.
Also rallying strongly is engineering software supplier AVEVA (AVV), which reports its first results since its merger with the software arm of French firm Schneider Electric.
Pro forma figures, which show how the business would have traded in its current shape for the whole full year to 31 March 2018, reveal a 20% jump in pre-tax profits to £162.8m, once share-based payments and some one-off charges are stripped out. The group has also maintained its 27p per share dividend.
The figures are widely welcomed by investors, sparking a rush of stock buying that powers the share price more than 10% higher to £27.94, the biggest riser on the entire FTSE All-Share index.
DIAMOND STOCK ADJUSTS TO NEW SHARES
The FTSE All-Share’s biggest faller is Petra Diamonds (PDL) as new shares flood the market following the firm’s $178m rights issue. The stock falls 18% on Thursday to 60.5p, valuing the gem stone miner at £323m.
A veiled warning on the ‘challenging’ state of the UK market that accompanies the figures is largely taken in stride by investors, the share price staying flat at 450.5p.
The fashion chain has long-since shifted the vast majority of its business onto the internet, which means that just 20 UK stores will close their doors. The company explains that customer numbers have dwindled.
N Brown shares dip about 1.5% on Thursday to 194.7p, with investors still concerned by overall sales in the first quarter to 2 June declining 2.8%, extending the 4.1% fall in the previous quarter.
PROMISING HIV RESULTS
Drug development giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) sees its shares nudge modestly higher on Thursday after the group reported promising late stage studies for its two-drug treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The shares are up 15p, or about 1%, to £15.602 in early deals.
Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered (STAN) is to set up its latest global business services hub in the Polish capital of Warsaw according to a company announcement. This is the latest in a series of hits to London’s status as Europe’s premier financial centre as the nation readies for Brexit.
Oil prices ease on Thursday, dragged down by rising output and a decline in China’s refining activity, although strong fuel consumption in the US and a drop in its crude inventories provided the market with some support.
Gold prices are also on the back foot as the US Federal Reserve forecast a slightly faster pace of interest rate hikes this year.
Heavyweight stocks going ex-dividend today, when investors lose the right to the next payout, include 3I (III), Mediclinic (MDC), Persimmon (PSN), Severn Trent (SVT) and WPP (WPP), trimming 4.5 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters calculations.