Wednesday 21 November 2018

FTSE 100 lifted as investors cheer payout by Standard Life Aberdeen

The fund manager said it was accelerating its share buyback programme.

The prospect of shareholder payouts by Standard Life Aberdeen lifted the UK fund manager’s London-listed shares (PA)
The prospect of shareholder payouts by Standard Life Aberdeen lifted the UK fund manager’s London-listed shares (PA)

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

The FTSE 100 was lifted on Tuesday thanks to planned shareholder payouts by Standard Life Aberdeen and a lack of bad news on the political stage which increased appetite for stocks.

London’s blue chip index ended the day up 0.7% or 54.70 points at 7,718.48 points, with Standard Life Aberdeen holding the top spot.

The fund manager closed higher by nearly 5%, rising 14.7p to 321.3p despite a drop in pre-tax profits.

But investors cheered its 7.3p interim dividend as well as the acceleration of a share buyback programme worth up to £1.75 billion.

The FTSE 100 was also buoyed by a stronger appetite for stocks.

David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “A lack of negative news has encouraged traders to pick up equities.

“In terms of geopolitics, not much has changed, but dealers are buying up stocks nonetheless.”

In currencies, the pound was mixed, trading 0.1% against the US dollar at 1.295 but falling 0.2% versus the euro at 1.117.

Figures released by Halifax on Tuesday showed that UK house prices grew faster than expected in July, hitting a record high as pressure on houseful finances starts to ease.

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The FTSE 100 ended the trading session higher on Tuesday (PA)

The annual pace of house price growth rose 3.3%, smashing economists’ forecasts for a 2.6% increase, helping average prices hit a new record high of £230,280.

The figure compares with the 1.8% recorded in June and represents the largest increase since last November.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices were up more than 1% at around 74.34 US dollars per barrel, as the US sanctions officially restarted sanctions on Iran which are expected to tighten global supply.

The first wave of US sanctions against Iran officially came into effect on Tuesday, with further restrictions on the country’s oil sector and Central Bank set to come into effect in November.

Many countries, including US allies in Europe as well as China and India, oppose the sanctions, but the US government said it wants as many countries as possible to stop buying Iranian oil.

In UK stocks, shares in outsourcer Interserve dropped 2.95p to 69.05p after swinging to a £6 million loss in the first half of the year, having been hit in part by restructuring costs.

TP ICAP shares were down 3.5p at 288.9p  as the London broker confirmed that statutory pre-tax profits halved to £34 million over the six months to June 30.

The company was knocked by a £58 million goodwill impairment charge, linked in part to the integration costs of ICAP.

Shares in pizza firm Domino’s tumbled 30.8p to 287.2p, having been hit in part by labour costs at its Norwegian business.

It said profit before tax fell 9.7% over the 26 weeks ended July 1 to £41.7 million.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Standard Life Aberdeen up 14.7p at 321.3p, Glencore up 12.3p at 326.3p, Anglo American up 58.2p at 1,736.2p, and Centrica up 3.25p at 147.9p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Intertek Group down 574p at 5,296p, Hargreaves Lansdown down 87p at 2,031p, Intercontinental Hotels Group down 142p at 4,607p, and Croda International down 108p at 5,122p.

Press Association

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