UK stocks made a subdued start on Wednesday as first quarter GDP fell 1.6%, revised down from 1.5% reflecting the most recent lockdown.

Trading in Asia was mixed with China’s SE Composite index gaining 0.5% while Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.1%.

Commodities were weaker with gold down 0.2% to $1,758 per ounce and Brent Crude was 0.1% lower at $74.7 a barrel.

At 08:45 the FTSE 100 index of leading shares was down 0.1% to 7,080 points.

CORPORATE NEWS

Electrical goods retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.) said full year revenues to 1 May grew 1% to £10.3 billion and the company returned to a profit of £33 million after last year’s £140 million loss.

The dividend was resumed with the board proposing a 3p per share full-year pay-out. Online sales were up 114% to £3.4 billion.

The company said the start of the financial year had seen continued strong trading in all its markets and touted ongoing progress with its omni-channel transformation. The shares gained 1.2%.

Train and bus company Stagecoach (SGC) reported a 39% fall in annual profit after pandemic-related lockdowns and other restrictions weighed on sales.

Pre-tax profit for the year through May dropped to £24.7 million, down from £40.6 million year-on-year, as revenue dropped 35% to £928.2 million.

Stagecoach declared no dividends for the year. The shares added 1.8%.

UPGRADES

In a trading update, outsourced services company Serco (SRP) said it expected to report a more than 50% rise in first-half underlying profit. The company also upgraded free cash flow guidance to £300 million from £275 million.

It reiterated full-year guidance for revenues to be around £4.3 billion and underlying trading profit of approximately £200 million, up 30% in constant currencies. Despite the upgrade the shares dropped 0.8% to 136.5p.

Shares in pharmaceutical company Indivior (INDV) surged 8% to 157p after it raised annual guidance saying fiscal 2021 revenues and adjusted pre-tax income were now expected to be ‘significantly’ above the group's original guidance.

Net revenue was expected in a range of $705 million to $740 million, up from previous guidance of up to $625 million reflecting stronger sales of its opioid dependency treatment Sublocade.

Shares in Advertising firm M&C Saatchi (SAA) jumped 7% to 157.5p after the company upgraded its annual guidance, citing a corporate restructure that saw it cut costs.

Pre-tax losses for the year through December dipped slightly to £8.5 million while revenues fell 12% to £225.4 million.

Looking ahead, M&C Saatchi said it expected its full-year results to be ahead of consensus market expectations.

The company said it had traded ahead of expectations for first five months of 2021 and anticipated posting a headline pre-tax profit for the first half more than £10 million.

OTHER NEWS

Investment company Chrysalis Investments (CHRY) swung to a first-half profit as a strong performance from its portfolio companies boosted net asset value.

For the period 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021, pre-tax profit was £197.4 million compared with a loss of £15.8 million last year as net investment gains swung to £250 million from a loss of £14.2 million.

Net asset value per share grew 28.1% to 206.15p. The shares dropped 0.7% to 260p.

Shares in egg-free cake maker Cake Box (CBOX:AIM) gained 3% after the company said full year pre-tax profit to 31 March jumped 11.8% to £4.2 million as revenues increased 16.9% to £21.9 million.

Online sales grew 84%, and like-for-like sales grew 14.7% in franchise stores, up from 5.1% in the 40-week comparable period from 1st June 2020 to 7th March 2021.

The dividend per share for the full year was 3.7 pence per share.

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Issue Date: 30 Jun 2021