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FTSE 100 Live 30 May: Index rises after slow start, markets await US GDP update

FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)
FTSE 100 Live (Evening Standard)

Global stock markets remain under pressure as worries mount that interest rates will stay high for longer.

The FTSE 100 index fell sharply yesterday, with tomorrow’s figures on US inflation trends now the key focus for traders.

In corporate updates, the shares of Dr Martens and Auto Trader have rallied after their results.

FTSE 100 Live Thursday

  • Dr Martens cuts costs as profits slide

  • Auto Trader profits up by a quarter

  • De La Rue in break-up talks

Coats appoints former GKN Aerospace chief as new CEO of one of London's most historic listed firms

Thursday 30 May 2024 12:58 , Daniel O'Boyle

One of the London Stock Exchange’s most historic firms revealed the identity of its next chief executive today.


Coats, which makes industrial thread and dates back to the 1750s, has appointed David Paja to take over in the top job from company veteran Rajiv Sharma.

Paja will join the board of the FTSE 250 constituent in September, becoming CEO a month later. Sharma will “remain available” to the company until the end of the year.

Read more here

Auto Trader jumps 11% on results boost, Currys up 6% after upgrade

Thursday 30 May 2024 10:19 , Graeme Evans

Auto Trader shares surged 11% to a record high today after Britain’s biggest car marketplace posted top-of-the-range annual results.

The rise of 81.8p to 812.3p was fuelled by turnover growth of 14% to £570.9 million and a 26% jump in operating profits.

The FTSE 100 index recovered from a weak start to climb 18.59 points to 8201.66, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 cheered 0.5% or 102.66 points to 20,539.

AstraZeneca fared well in London’s top flight after Goldman Sachs backed the drugs giant with a “Buy” rating and 15,200p target price. The shares improved 95p to 12,025p.

Anglo American shares fell another 12.5p to 2467.5p after Australia's BHP ended its bid interest,

British Gas owner Centrica slipped 1.7p to 138.75p as a result of shares trading without the right to the next dividend. Marks & Spencer and Severn Trent were also lower for the same reason.

In the FTSE 250, retail chain Currys rallied 6% or 4.3p to its highest level in over a year at 75.7p after analysts at Berenberg raised their price target to 90p.

Results-day rally for Auto Trader and Dr Martens, FTSE 100 steady

Thursday 30 May 2024 08:43 , Graeme Evans

Auto Trader is the best performing stock in the FTSE 100, up 7% or 54.2p to 784.8p after the car retail platform reported a 26% jump in operating profits.

AstraZeneca also fared well after Goldman Sachs backed the drugs giant with a “Buy” recommendation and 15,200p target price. The shares lifted 102p to 12,030p, in contrast to a fall of 7.5p to 1739p for GSK.

Anglo American shares fell another 48p to 2432p after BHP yesterday withdrew its bid interest, while Centrica weakened 2.1p to 138.35p as a result of its shares being marked ex-dividend.

The FTSE 100 recovered from a weak start to stand 2.54 points lower at 8180.53, with the FTSE 250 up 24.45 points to 20,460.79.

Shares in Dr Martens rebounded 11% or 9.2p to 93.1p following its annual results, while banknote printer De La Rue rose 5p to 103p as it emerged it is talking to buyers for parts of the business.

Auto Trader shares soar on profits boost

Thursday 30 May 2024 08:42 , Simon Hunt

Shares in Auto Trader jumped by more than 13% after markets opened this morning following a bumper boost in profits at Britain’s biggest car marketplace.

CEO Nathan Coe told the Standard: “As a tech company our valuation being on the London Stock Exchange has arguably held us back a little bit.

“[But] I’m not sure it holds us back as much as you would think because we have many US investors on our register, these markets are very liquid and there is nothing stopping a US investor investing in Auto Trader in the UK.

“There is a big difference in the mix of businesses in the FTSE and the S&P and the Nasdaq and it’s just the stock market, actually we’d do well as a country to invest in the right make sure there’s the right environment to build valuable companies because that’s probably the biggest difference between the indexes.”

Nightcap hits out at Revolution Bars' rejection of its rescue bid

Thursday 30 May 2024 07:53 , Michael Hunter

The would-be rescuer of the late-night venue operator Revolution Bars hit out at the company’s rejection of its bid today, which the troubled target said this week was “incapable of being delivered”.

Nightcap, a sector rival behind the Blame Gloria chain, mirrored those words as it withdrew the offer today:

“At no point did Nightcap receive legal advice to suggest that this non-binding proposal was not capable of being delivered”.

It also said it was disappointed and claimed that the merger of the two companies – which Nightcap proposes as an alternative to what it called a “highly dilutive £12.5 million fundraising” at Revolution – would have meant that Revolution investors would “achieve more value from their investment”.

The Nightcap deal would have involved the merged company selling off its Peach Pubs chain. And Nightcap, which has a market value of around £9 million, would have had to raise funds to pay for the deal. Both firms creditors would have had to back the deal.

Revolution has been in talks with a range of potential suitors to save the chain, famed for nightlife venues popular with students.

But as it deals with the impact of a late night entertainment scene, Revolution has struggled to come back from the pandemic, and has chosen to re-finance via the £12.5 million fundraising.

That plan will also need backing from investors, and Revolution will stay open to further offers.

Auto Trader profits up by a quarter as it warns on 'challenging' new car market

Thursday 30 May 2024 07:45 , Simon Hunt

Auto Trader today posted a 26% jump in operating profit to just shy of £350 million as Britain’s biggest car market saw stronger demand than pre-pandemic levels.

Revenues at the firm grew by 14% to top £570 million while average revenue per retailer grew 12%.

But the firm warned its cost was set to go up next year as a result of having exceeded the threshold for the UK's digital services tax, and it said the new car market “has been more challenging and discounting has started to return”.


De La Rue in break-up talks

Thursday 30 May 2024 07:28 , Simon English

DE Lae Rue, the passport and money manufacturer, today said it looking at a break-up of the group.

In a statement to the stock market it said is evaluating “strategic options for the group” to “create greater financial flexibility”.

It is in talks with several parties who have expressed an interest in buying parts of the business.

Clive Whiley, the chairman, said: "Since my appointment a year ago, the Board has considered a broad range of possible strategic alternatives including transactions with multiple parties which may involve a combination with, or the sale of, the Group's divisions. The Board confirms that the discussions with the relevant parties are advancing, and we expect to update further at the time of the full year results in July.”

The market for banknotes is recovering it said, with the order book up to £239 million by the end of March.

De La Rue was founded in 1821, listing on the London stock market in 1947. In its history, it has supplied bank notes to Iran, Iraq and the Bank of England.

Richard Griffiths, an investor known as the “Welsh Wizard”, has as 11% stake in the business.

Dr Martens to cut costs after profits tumble

Thursday 30 May 2024 07:21 , Daniel O'Boyle

Iconic boot brand Dr. Martens is to cut £20-£25m of costs after its profits slid by 43% in a difficult 2023.

The business has struggled in the US, causing shares to tumble this year. Profit came to £97.2 million as revenue declined by 12% to £877 million. After a number of recent profit warnings, Dr. Martens said current trading is in line with expectations.

CEO Kenny Wilson said: “Our FY24 results were as expected and reflect continued weak USA consumer demand. This particularly impacted our USA wholesale business and offset our Group DTC performance, where pairs grew by 7%. We have achieved robust performances in EMEA and APAC, and our supply chain strategy continues to deliver good savings.

“We are clear that we need to drive demand in the USA to return to growth in FY26 onwards and are executing a detailed plan to achieve this, with refocused and increased USA marketing investment in the year ahead. We are also announcing a cost action plan across the group, targeting savings of £20m to £25m. I am confident that the actions we are taking as we enter this year of transition will put us in good shape for the years ahead.”

Wilson announced earlier this year that he will step down in 2025, to be replaced by current chief brand officer Ije Nwokorie.

Dr Martens (Dr Martens)
Dr Martens (Dr Martens)

FTSE 100 seen lower ahead of key US GDP, Nikkei 225 down 1.6%

Thursday 30 May 2024 07:16 , Graeme Evans

The poor run for global markets is set to continue today after leading US benchmarks finished deep in the red last night.

A surge in bond yields amid the prospect of US interest rates staying high led to the latest Wall Street reverse, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 1% and the S&P 500 down 0.7%.

The jitters come ahead of Friday’s release of the monthly core personal consumption expenditures index, which is the Federal Reserve’s favoured inflation measure.

Attention later today will also be on the second estimate of first quarter US GDP, having slowed to an annual rate of 1.6% at the first reading.

The FTSE 100 index closed 71 points lower at 8183 last night, with futures trading pointing to a further decline of 36 points at today’s opening bell.

Asian have also weakened, led by a decline of 1.6% for Tokyo’s Nikkei 225.

Recap: Yesterday's top stories

Thursday 30 May 2024 06:44 , Simon Hunt

Good morning from the Standard City desk.

Global stock indices lagged on Wednesday and the pound hit new highs against the euro amid lingering concerns among investors that UK interest rates will stay higher for longer.

The FTSE 100 was down 71.11 points, or 0.86%, to close at 8,183.07.

Anglo American was among the biggest fallers of the day after it repeatedly rejected calls for a takeover by rival mining group BHP.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, BHP confirmed it was not going to table a bid after failing to reach an agreement, putting the brakes on a potential global mega-deal.

Meanwhile, global investors appeared to be downbeat amid further evidence from the US that consumers are proving to be resilient in the face of higher prices and borrowing costs.

It comes ahead of all-important inflation data being released across the pond on Friday.

Here’s a summary of our top headlines from yesterday: