FTSE 100 struggles to gain ground despite upbeat services data; B&M hikes dividend

Thu, 3rd Jun 2021

The FTSE 100 slipped Thursday, shrugging off data showing the services sector in May expanded at its fastest pace in 24 years. At 09:45am, the FTSE 100 fell 0.58% to 7,066.41. The UK services purchasing managers' index rose to 62.9 in May, up from 61.8 in April, according to a 'final' reading by IHS Markit. Variety goods value retailer B&M European Value Retail hiked its dividend after reporting annual profit that more than doubled as pandemic stockpiling boosted sales. For the 52 weeks to 27 March 2021, pre-tax profit increased 108.5% to £525.4 million year-on-year as revenue increased 25.9% to £4.80 billion. Despite the positive news, the company's share price fell 3.81% to 539.80p. The share price of sports retailer JD Sports Fashion fell 0.27% to 946.40p following the news that it struck a non-binding agreement to sell Netherlands-based subsidiary Sports Unlimited Retail BV to Iberian Sports Retail, its 50.02% subsidiary based in Spain, for €16.5 million. Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty said it had sold its 70% stake in the BC Children's & BC Women's Hospital redevelopment project phase 2 - Teck Acute Care Centre, located in Vancouver, Canada. The disposal proceeds of £20 million were in excess of the directors' valuation as at 31 December 2020. Its share price fell 0.82% to 312.80p. Information Services firm Informa's share price was up nearly 1% at 550.80p as it confirmed it has remained on track to deliver on its guidance this year as its events business continued to recovery and its digital services business expanded. Workspace has reported a pre-tax loss of £235.7 million for the 12 months to the end of March, largely a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its share price fell 1.71% to 896.89p. Pennon has reported a 1.2% increase in its underlying revenue for the 2020/21 period, but suffered a 14.2% pre-tax loss when compared with the year prior as the group repositions itself in the market. In July 2020, the company saw £3.7 billion in net cash proceeds from the sale of Viridor, resulting in a £1.7 billion on disposal. Its share price rose 3.7% to £11.08. Defence company Chemring raised its dividend after reporting a rise in first-half profit, sending its share price up 1.02% to 309.62p. The company also announced the acquisition of Cubica group, which would drive further scale in its growing Roke business. RA International Group, a specialist provider of complex and integrated remote site services to Humanitarian, Governmental and Commercial organisations globally, has announced the award of a US government contract. The announcement sent its share price up 8.51% to 51p. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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