(Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main London indices on Thursday.
FTSE 100 - WINNERS
SSE, up 1.5%. The energy company said it will retain dividend payments as it predicted that the effects of the pandemic on its business will be "temporary". SSE said it expects the economic damage caused by the coronavirus on the wider economy to have adverse, albeit temporary, effects on several of its businesses during financial 2021. SSE said it expects the "greater impacts" from the pandemic to occur during the first six months of the year, which began on April 1. SSE said that it continues to target the delivery of the five-year dividend plan to financial 2023, including an 80 pence full-year dividend for 2021. SSE intends to declare a 24.4p interim dividend in November.
British Land, up 0.8%. Jefferies raised the property company to Buy from Hold.
BP, up 0.3%. Jefferies upgraded the UK oil major to Buy from Hold.
FTSE 100 - LOSERS
GVC Holdings, down 4.4%. The sports betting company reported a double-digit first-half revenue decline and departure of its chief executive officer. CEO Kenneth Alexander will leave his post on Friday after 13 years at the helm. He will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Shay Segev. In the six months to June 30, the bookmaker's net gaming revenue dropped 11%, or 10% at constant currency. There was 19% growth in online, though this was more than offset by like-for-like revenue falls of 50% and 48% at its UK and European retail arms, respectively. In the second quarter alone, net gaming revenue fell 22%. UK retail fell 86% and European retail by 90%, but online grew by 22%. The first half was a period mired in lockdowns, which led to sporting events across the globe being postponed and cancelled. "All eyes will be on Mr Segev and whether he can further crack the US market and make sure GVC is in the top tier of players as the sports betting market opens up," said AJ Bell's Russ Mould.
SEGRO, down 2.5%. Jefferies cut the warehouse property investor to Hold from Buy.
FTSE 250 - WINNERS
Cineworld Group, up 2.6%. Shares in the cinema chain were higher ahead of its reopening on July 31. "Among the mid-caps, cinema operator Cineworld [was among the] risers with only a fortnight to go before its sites reopen in the UK and US. In France, more than a million tickets were reportedly sold across the cinema sector in the first nine days after reopening from lockdown, indicating pent-up demand for the big screen," said Mould.
Biffa, up 1.7%. The waste disposal company said trading in the first quarter of the year to March 2021 has been "slightly" ahead of forecasts and the company is seeing a steady recovery in demand following easing of government lockdown measures. Group revenue, which in April were 70% of pre-Covid-19 run rates, recovered in June to 83% of pre-Covid-19 levels, the waste management company explained. The Industrial & Commercial division revenue during July recovered to over 80% of pre-Covid-19 levels and landfill revenue are over 70% versus their low points in April. Biffa, which raised GBP100 million via equity issue in June, has recommenced its investment programme to deliver on its ambitious sustainability goals and growth in shareholder returns.
FTSE 250 - LOSERS
Hays, down 3.5%. The recruiter said its net fees dropped in the final quarter of its financial year through declines in all regions, leading to expectations of a sharp fall in annual operating profit. For the three months to the end of June, the FTSE 250 recruiter said group net fees dropped by 34% both on an actual and like-for-like basis, as markets were heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The company said that it expects operating profit for the year as a whole to be GBP130 million to GBP135 million, down 46% to 48% from GBP248 million the year before. London-based Hays said that its UK & Ireland geographical segment fell the hardest, with net fees down by 42% as the public and private sectors were both tough in extremely challenging market conditions.
By Arvind Bhunjun; firstname.lastname@example.org
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