London close: Flutter figures help FTSE touch one-month high
London stocks managed a positive finish on Tuesday, with Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment riding high after well-received results, and investors mulling the latest retail sales data.
Sterling was in a mixed state, last trading 0.06% lower against the dollar at $1.3839, while gaining 0.08% on the euro to €1.1808.
“Cautious optimism continues to outweigh concern about rising Delta variant rates in Asia, and to a lesser extent the US.
“It’s also been another day of mixed earnings announcements with winners and losers in equal measure.”
Stateside, labour productivity in the US grew a tad less quickly than anticipated during the second quarter, with the US Department of Labor reporting that in seasonally-adjusted terms, productivity increased at a quarter-on-quarter pace of 2.3% over the three months to June.
That was less than the 3.5% gain expected by analysts, but the previous month’s increase was revised up to show growth of 5.0%, which was up from a preliminary estimate of 4.5%.
Unit labour costs meanwhile, one of the most closely-tracked measures of inflation in any economy, rose by 1.0% over the same time frame, just as anticipated.
On home shores, retail sales slowed during a wet July and more stores closed as the pandemic continued to damage the UK’s high streets, according to fresh industry figures.
Total sales rose 6.4% compared with growth of 14.7% over the previous three months and 10.4% during the past year.
Like-for-like sales rose 4.7% compared with a three-month average of 9.7% and 11.1% over the past year, the British Retail Consortium said.
The BRC said the slowdown was caused by wet weather and the reopening of hospitality during July, which gave consumers other options for spending.
Stores continued to close as the impact of the pandemic and the switch to online shopping hit physical sales.
“July continued to see strong sales, although growth has started to slow,” said Helen Dickinson, the BRC‘s chief executive.
“The lifting of restrictions did not bring the anticipated in-store boost, with the wet weather leaving consumers reluctant to visit shopping destinations.
“The vacancy rate is continuing to rise – many shops and local communities have been battered by the pandemic, with many high streets in need of further investment.”
Finally, Britain’s used car market grew 108.6% in the second quarter of 2021, with 2.16m vehicles changing hands during the period.
The figure from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders marked a 6.6% improvement on 2019 pre-pandemic levels, and was the best second-quarter performance on record and almost the best quarter ever for the used car market.
That increase not only tracked the country’s gradual emergence from Covid-19 lockdowns, but also reflected increased demand for personal mobility and stock shortages in the new car market, the trade body said.
In equity markets, M&G fell 3.07% even after it posted a better-than-expected first-half adjusted operating profit.
InterContinental Hotels was 0.63% weaker despite saying it swung to a profit in the first half as trading recovered from the pandemic hit.
Abrdn lost 2.32% even as the company formerly known as Standard Life Aberdeen posted a strong rise in first-half profit as revenue rose and outflows of funds eased.
On the upside, Flutter Entertainment jumped 7.81% after it said first-half earnings rose 75% as the gambling group benefited from the acquisition of Stars in the US.
Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased to £597m from £342m in the six months to the end of June from a year earlier as revenue doubled to £3.05bn from £1.54bn.
“Gambling stocks are a big outperformer today as Flutter Entertainment earnings shone a light on the potential benefits that come with US expansion,” said IG senior market analyst Joshua Mahony.
“The loosening of gambling restrictions in the US seemed to overlap with the UK clampdown on fixed odds betting terminals.
“While investors have known that the stringent restrictions on in store terminals would hurt the bottom line, the size of the potential opportunity from US deregulation has been somewhat of an unknown.”
Elsewhere, Regus owner IWG gained 2.69% after it said demand was strong as the flexible office group swung to a first-half loss after the Covid-19 crisis hit trading early in the period.
FTSE 100 – Risers
Flutter Entertainment (CDI) (FLTR) 13,950.00p 7.81%
Informa (INF) 532.00p 4.72%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 178.50p 2.47%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,003.00p 2.28%
Evraz (EVR) 632.60p 2.23%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,674.50p 2.10%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 433.90p 2.05%
ITV (ITV) 117.65p 2.04%
WPP (WPP) 987.60p 2.02%
Prudential (PRU) 1,451.50p 2.00%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
M&G (MNG) 230.80p -3.07%
Abrdn (ABDN) 291.10p -2.32%
Next (NXT) 7,942.00p -1.61%
Fresnillo (FRES) 772.20p -1.40%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,254.00p -1.24%
Avast (AVST) 569.00p -1.08%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,467.50p -1.01%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,498.50p -0.93%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,141.00p -0.83%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,374.00p -0.80%
FTSE 250 – Risers
Babcock International Group ((BA)B) 307.50p 7.03%
Capita (CPI) 45.60p 6.74%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 369.40p 5.97%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 283.00p 4.81%
Volution Group (FAN) 492.50p 4.11%
Diversified Energy Company (DEC) 105.20p 3.75%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 231.00p 3.69%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 1,060.00p 3.32%
Mitie Group (MTO) 68.30p 3.17%
888 Holdings (888) 395.80p 3.02%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
Vectura Group (VEC) 163.40p -5.55%
Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 2,100.00p -3.67%
Indivior (INDV) 161.20p -3.07%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 254.50p -2.68%
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 377.80p -2.62%
AO World (AO.) 218.00p -2.59%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 210.00p -2.33%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 117.80p -2.00%
CMC Markets (CMCX) 409.00p -1.68%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 375.00p -1.57%