Stimulus Check – London mid-caps gain on strong corporate earnings; Unilever drags blue-chips
July 22 (Reuters) – British mid-caps rose on Thursday as positive corporate results helped allay concerns over rising COVID-19 cases, while the blue-chip index slipped after Unilever cut its full-year margin forecasts.
The domestically focussed mid-cap index (.FTMC) rose for the third straight session, up 0.9%, helped by upbeat quarterly results from Howden Joinery Group (HWDN.L) and IG Group (IGG.L).
Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) fell 4.5% and was the worst performer on the index after it cut annual operating margin forecast due to rising commodity prices, while posting higher-than-expected underlying sales growth for the second quarter. read more
“Concern that rising Delta infections might slow down the economic rebound appear to have been put to one side for now, after positive trading updates showed companies might be able to meet full-year expectations on revenue and profit,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
Britain’s retailers could open thousands of local high-street stores over the next 12 months as people start to step out again after months of coronavirus curbs, according to research from Barclays. read more
The retailers sub-index (.FTNMX404010) jumped 1.2%
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index has gained 8.1% so far this year, helped by government stimulus, but is nearly 11% away from its all-time high. It is still underperforming the mid-cap index, which is just 1.2% away from its record high.
Among stocks, transport firm FirstGroup (FGP.L) jumped 4.1% after it increased its planned shareholder returns by 135 million pounds ($185.29 million) after closing the sale of its U.S. bus assets to private equity firm EQT Infrastructure.
Workspace Group Plc (WKP.L) gained 2.3% after it said it expected strong signs of businesses in London returning to work with easing of pandemic-related restrictions. read more
Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Arun Koyyur
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