Accountancy software behemoth Sage Group was the best performer on the blue-chip index today after acquiring a majority interest in Folhamatic Group, a provider of accounting, tax and payroll and regulatory content software in Brazil, for 125m pounds. Investec upgraded its rating on the stock today from 'sell' to 'hold' after the shares surpassed its target price.
Insurance giant Aviva was on the rise after Fitch Ratings said that insurance companies are loss exposed than banks to contagion risk triggered by a Greek exit from the Eurozone "because of insurers' ability to share losses with policyholders and their lower reliance on short-term funding." Prudential, Legal & General and RSA Insurance were also making gains.
Costa and Premier Inn owner Whitbread was extending its gains after its well-taken first-quarter results yesterday; total sales in the 13 weeks to May 31st were up 13.9% on the corresponding period of 2011, with LFL sales up a better-than-expected 4.5%
Heading the other way were heavyweight utilities stocks Severn Trent and United Utilities after going ex-dividend; from today, investors will not have the right to their latest dividend payments.
Oilfield services group Petrofac dropped despite being declared as the selected bidder on the Pánuco integrated production service contract in Mexico.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Sage Group (SGE) 268.40p +5.88%
Aviva (AV.) 278.70p +4.54%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 516.00p +4.05%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,042.00p +3.81%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 159.70p +3.43%
Water company Severn Trent is raising household bills in the five years to 2020, but pledged to keep increases below inflation amid pressure from government and watchdogs to help cash-strapped consumers. [2 Dec '13]
Tuesday's shares price fall in Severn Trent is a bit of a surprise. Its interim results yielded no negative surprises and the company is by design quite stable financially from an investor's point of view. Hence, it is most likely that markets are already eyeing the year of uncertainty ahead as water companies and Ofwat negotiate over the pricing regime beyond April 2015. The outcome of the regulatory review is impossible to forecast. [27 Nov '13]
Thanksgiving holiday to affect trading volumes; BTG jumps after Varithena approval; De La Rue, Mitchells & Butlers, Britvic gain after results; Glencore Xstrata drops on Las Bambas developments. [26 Nov '13]
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