FTSE 100 rises, supported by gains for Unilever and oil stocks

FTSE 100 rises, supported by gains for Unilever and oil stocks

0914 GMT – The FTSE 100 index rose 0.3% to 7625.29, outperforming other European indices. Unilever tops the list of risers, jumping 6.4% as investors hail the appointment of activist investor Nelson Peltz – who runs activist hedge fund Trian Fund Management – as non-executive director. Heavy energy stocks are also being boosted by sharp rises in crude oil prices after an EU plan for a partial embargo on oil imports from Russia. Shell is up 1.5% and BP is up 1.3%, while miners are also up, with Antofagasta up 1.7%. However, B&M European Value Retail slipped 8.4% after announcing mostly flat results for the 2022 financial year and warning of “unpredictable” trading patterns in the year ahead. International Consolidated Airlines, owner of British Airways, fell 3.6%. (jessica.fleetham@wsj.com)

Companies News: 

GSK to buy Affinivax for up to $3.3 billion

GSK PLC on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to buy clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Affinivax, Inc. for up to $3.3 billion.

Unilever to add activist investor Nelson Peltz to its board

Unilever PLC said it would add Nelson Peltz to its board and activist investor Trian Fund Management LP has a 1.5% stake in the company, a move that comes as the owner of Dove seeks to boost its performance.

B&M European Value Retail FY22 profit fairly stable; Appoint a new CEO

B&M European Value Retail SA announced on Tuesday a stable set of results for the 2022 financial year while warning of a return to markdowns in the current financial year, and announced that it had appointed Alex Russo to succeed Simon Arora in as the company’s new CEO.

Pennon Group’s pre-tax profit for the financial year 2022 fell due to higher financial costs

Pennon Group PLC said on Tuesday that pre-tax profit for the financial year 2022 had fallen amid higher financial costs due to inflation and that it had increased its dividend payout.

PCF Group is in takeover talks with Castle Trust Capital

PCF Group PLC said on Tuesday it was in preliminary talks over a possible takeover by Castle Trust Capital PLC in a deal that would give shareholders a minority stake in the enlarged group.

GYG sees 2022 performance in line with views

GYG PLC on Tuesday said it was confident in achieving its performance targets for 2022 after a positive first quarter.

Billington performs in line with market views in 2022 amid contract wins

Billington Holdings PLC said on Tuesday that 2022 started out positively, with performance in line with market views and securing a number of contracts.

Reduction of the PCF group’s pre-tax losses for the 2021 financial year; appoints Garry Stran CEO

PCF Group PLC reported a reduced pre-tax loss for the 2021 financial year on Tuesday as it recorded lower impairment charges and said it had appointed Garry Stran as chief executive.

Market Talk: 

Pennon’s cost of inflation should come as no surprise

0916 GMT – Pennon reported rising costs for electricity, chemicals and the impact of inflation on interest on debt for FY2023, which should come as no surprise as it is similar to what other water companies have reported to date, Citi utilities analyst Jenny Ping told in a research note. Looking to fiscal 2022, Pennon reported results broadly in line with consensus, with dividend and net debt also as expected, she said. Shares fell 1.9% after water company FTSE 250 released its results for the year ended March 31. Citi has a neutral rating on the stock. (jaime.llinares@wsj.com)

Unilever’s activist investor could speed up streamlining

08:40 GMT – Unilever’s appointment of Nelson Peltz to the board has been welcomed by investors as it could push the Anglo-Dutch retailer forward with its plans to streamline the business and address governance issues, AJ Bell chief investment officer Russ Mold said in a note. Mold said Peltz’s presence should also increase pressure on CEO Alan Jope, who was already in a tough spot after the failed takeover of GSK’s consumer healthcare division. Unilever shares were up 6.7% at 3,729.0 pence. (michael.susin@wsj.com)

Unilever breakup more likely after buying Trian stake

08:35 GMT – After Nelson Peltz took a 1.5% stake in Unilever, his hedge fund Trian Fund Management will most likely push the company to go back to basics, invest in innovation, link incentives to earnings growth and accelerating the pace of mergers and acquisitions, Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne said in a note. Additionally, a breakup of Unilever could be considered, as it might simply be too spread out to work effectively, Monteyne says. “We don’t know of any company the size of Unilever that operates successfully while being so widespread.” (Saabira.Chaudhuri@wsj.com)

B&M European Value Retail seen facing growth headwinds in FY23

0802 GMT – B&M European Value Retail’s results for the 2022 financial year, which ended May 26, were broadly in line with views, RBC Capital Markets said in a note. The London-listed convenience retailer’s outlook for fiscal 2023, however, was weaker than expected, RBC adds. “We believe various headwinds will make it more difficult to achieve meaningful earnings growth over the next two years,” the Canadian bank said. B&M is not expected to offer additional short-term cash returns given that it has already returned around £500million to shareholders over the past two years, RBC said. (sabela.ojea@wsj.com; @sabelaojeaguix)


Contact: London NewsPlus; paul.larkins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswire

May 31, 2022 05:53 ET (09:53 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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Felix J. Dixon