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Market Wrap - Midday

Shell and HSBC boost FTSE

04 May 2017 11:53

A strong performance by two of the FTSE 100's largest constituents - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and HSBC (HSBA) - offset underwhelming results by other blue-chips such as Next (NXT).

Some stocks also went ex-dividend including Kingfisher (KGF) and Marmite owner Unilever (ULVR).

The FTSE was up 0.4% at 7,266.

There was good news for the UK economy as the purchasing managers index data for the services sector came in ahead of expectations. This matched similar updates on the manufacturing and construction sectors earlier in the week.

Brent crude oil slid 1% to $50.28 per barrel, while gold declined 1% to $1,232 per ounce.

Copper was 0.5% lower to $5,555 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

The S&P 500 nudged lower to 2,388 as the US Federal Reserve opted to keep interest rates on hold on Wednesday.

Most Asian markets were also subdued with the exception of Japan's Nikkei 225 which closed 0.7% higher on Thursday.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Shell was among the highest risers in early trading as it revealed its first quarter income climbed to $3.54bn compared to $484m at the same time last year. Its shares were up by 2.9% to £21.20.

High street bank HSBC ticked 4% higher as its first quarter adjusted pre-tax profits rose to $5,937m, up 12%.

Insurance group RSA (RSA) reported its first quarter 2017 net written premiums rose 14% to £1.71bn, while operating profit was ahead of company expectations, helping the share to climb 2.2% to 617.6p.

UK supermarket chain Morrisons (MRW) unveiled a 3.4% boost in like-for-like sales excluding fuel for the 13 weeks to April 30, although investors clearly hoped more as the stock nudged 1.2% down to 236.6p.

Gold miner Randgold Resources (RRS) sparkled at £66.20 after making a strong start in 2017, which put the group on track to achieve its guidance for year. In the first three months of 2017, gold production was up 10% on the year at 322,470 ounces.

High street fashion retailer Next was out of touch as its sales fell 3%, although it blamed a challenging UK consumer environment. It lowered pre-tax profit expectations to £680m-£740m, from £680m-£780m, prompting the shares to fall 4.9% to £41.93.

Anglo American (AAL) agreed to sell its 88% interest in the Drayton thermal coal mine and Drayton South project in New South Wales to Malabar Coal.

The market doubted Rolls-Royce's (RR.) ability to meet full year profit expectations as it nudged 1.3% lower despite announcing it saw no reason to change its expectations for profit and cash flow.

Severe weather dragged on miner Glencore's (GLEN) production and pushed the share price 2% down to 280.9p. The company highlighted the impact of Cyclone Debbie in Australia, flooding in Peru and higher than average rainfall in the Deomcratic Republic of Congo and Hunter Valley.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Betting business Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) was marked 4% lower as 123p as it traded in line with expectations in the period from 1 January to 21 April but reported mixed sports results.

Global security services provider G4S (GFS) impressed the market as it revealed strong start to its financial year thanks to continuing momentum from the end of 2016.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Purplebricks (PURP) shares enjoyed 1% lift as it released its full year trading update. The company performed strongly in the UK, with a year-on-year instruction growth increase of 83%.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: RDSB

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