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FTSE up on housebuilders and utility stocks

26 July 2017 16:50

Stronger utility and housebuilding stocks supported gains by the FTSE 100.

Barratt Developments (BDEV) led the housebuilders higher with a 1.9% jump to 615p. Taylor Wimpey (TW.) and Persimmon (PSN) were also up 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

Utility stocks remained strong as United Utilities (UU.) and Severn Trent (SVT) rose 1.2% and 0.9%.

The UK economy was estimated to have increased by 0.3% between April and June thanks to the retail sector, film production and distribution according to the Office for National Statistics. This was in line with expectations.

The services sector grew at a slower rate of 0.2% over the same period, down from 0.4% in the three months to February.

Brent crude oil nudged 1.2% higher to $50.80 per barrel. Copper increased 1% to $6,327 per tonne and gold reversed 0.3% to $1,247 per ounce.


Strong results from planes manufacturer Boeing sent the company's shares flying 8% higher and helped the Dow Jones in the US open 0.5% up at 21,718 this afternoon.


Investors already priced in a drop in pre-tax profit at broadcaster ITV (ITV). Profit fell from £425m to £381m in the first half.

ITV hiked its interim dividend by 5%, helping the shares rise 2.4% to 180.2p.

A decline in the trading margin from 8.6% to 8.4% in the first six months of 2017 dragged on engineer GKN's (GKN), prompting a 1% share price decline to 330p.

Elsewhere in the FTSE, food service firm Compass (CPG) benefitted from a 3.9% boost in organic revenue growth in its third quarter of the year. The company reported good progress in Europe, new business in North America and an improving environment in the rest of the world. The stock gained 1.7% to £16.27.

Among the miners, Antofagasta (ANTO) was broadly unmoved at 944p despite increasing copper production by 7.1% to 346,300 tonnes.


Pub and brewery Marston's (MARS) fell 4.2% to 116.3p despite like-for-like sales continuing to be ahead of expectations.

The market was willing to overlook Tullow Oil's (TLW) slip into a pre-tax loss of $519m in the first half of 2017 from a profit of $24m a year earlier as the stock advanced 7.8% to 165.7p.

PayPoint One, card payment transactions and cashpoint payments bode well for PayPoint (PAY). The company said revenue grew 4.2% to £28.4m in the three months to June, which pushed the stock 1.9% higher to 843.5p.

Banking group Paragon (PAG) advanced 4.9% to 428p thanks to strong trading in the quarter to 30 June, while new lending in the year to date hit £1.34bn, up from £1.19bn.


Robert Walters (RWA) unveiled a record first half to June 2017 thanks to a 62% jump in operating profits to £16.2m. Shares in the staffer were up 4.2% to 452.2p.

Huntsworth (HNT) said headline profit before tax rose 58% to £10m in the six months to the end of June, helping the share price tick 7.7% higher to 66.5p.

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