Tuesday, July 7: The FTSE opened stronger this morning after a subdued session yesterday, tracking Asian gains early Tuesday morning. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finished 1.5% higher and the Nikkei gained a modest 0.7%. The FTSE 100% rose around 0.3% after the opening bell and eventually closed 0.71% higher. The main driver behind global equity movements was commodities, as the likes of Glencore, Anglo and BHP all posted strong gains, the former only bettered by Standard Life Aberdeen following the release of their first half results which saw operating profit fall 8% because of lower fee-based revenue. They also announced the first tranche of their buyback scheme will commence in the next few days. Shares rose 4.8% on the day.
In contrasting fortunes, Intertek’s first half results saw shares slide almost 10% to sink to the bottom of the FTSE. Pretax profit did climb 3% and the interim dividend has also jumped by 36% but the firm’s strong recent run in share performance and premium valuation is behind the sell-off. Hargreaves Lansdown joined Intertek in the bottom ranks as shares fell just over 4% after announcing a special dividend after their FY results. Profit has jumped 10% as client numbers and assets both grew but their outlook remains cautious.
Also reporting was Domino’s Pizza group whom need no introduction especially on a Tuesday. Unfortunately there was no joy as shares tumbled 9.7% after international performance continues to lag the robust domestic results. The group continues to benefit from the decline of the casual diner in the UK but higher costs from store conversions and a new supply chain centre coupled with challenges further afield caused investors to sell. Also reporting today was interContinental Hotels; pretax profits declined 15% but revenue per room has risen 3.7%. Shares closed 3% lower.
Data out today showed UK house prices rose at their fastest annual pace last month since November. In the three months to July house prices were 3.3% higher than a year prior, with the average home costing a record £230,280. Halifax have stated housing activity remained soft and that they don’t expect much impact following the interest rate rise.