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Market Wrap - Market Open

Consumer gains fail to fuel FTSE 100

19 July 2017 09:15

Stronger consumer stocks and healthcare stocks were unable to offset weakness elsewhere in the FTSE 100, which was flat at 7,404.

Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) agreed to sell its Food business to McCormick & Company for $4.2bn on a cash-free, debt-free basis, but this failed to spark the share price at £79.21. The division includes the French's, Frank's RedHot and Cattlemen's brands. Reckitt Benckiser topped the blue-chip risers and was up 1.4% to £79.23.

Ben & Jerry's ice-cream seller and consumer brands giant Unilever (ULVR) advanced 0.8% to £43.25.

ConvaTec (CTEC) and Smith & Nephew (SN.) gained 1.2% and 0.8%, respectively.

Brent crude oil stood at $48.88 per barrel. Gold and copper were unmoved at $1,240 per ounce and $6,018 per tonne.


In corporate news, BHP Billiton (BLT) achieved full year production guidance for petroleum and iron ore, with annual production records at Western Australia Iron Ore, Spence and two Queensland Coal mines. Despite the strong results, the stock was broadly unmoved at £13.09.

Utility giant Severn Trent (SVT) reaffirmed its full-year trading performance was in-line with its expectations. Shares in the firm remained stable at £22.40.


Power generation firm Drax (DRX) was a big mid-cap faller after reporting a loss before tax of £83m in the first half of 2017. This was significantly lower than £184m pre-tax profit in the first six months of 2016, triggering a 2.9% fall to 334p.

Shares in RPC (RPC) were surging in the opposite direction after revenues in the first half of 2017 hit £960m. This was 'well ahead' of the same period last year thanks to continued organic growth, the contribution from acquisitions and positive foreign exchange movements. Shares in the plastics products designer jumped 6.3% to 880p.

QinetiQ (QQ.) said orders in its EMEA Services division were slower than expected with some customer contract award decisions deferred or delayed. The company also warned the recent General Election presented both opportunities and challenges, which was not received well by the market as the stock declined 7.5% to 253.8p.

Hungarian airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) was flat at £25.22 despite a record profit of €58.1m in the three months to 30 June 2017. The company also appointed Stephen Jones as executive vice-president and deputy chief executive officer.


Shares in The People's Operator (TPOP) surged 18.3% to 3.4p on management changes. Chief executive officer Mark Epstein resigned with immediate effect.

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