FTSE opens flat after high UK inflation reading

Wed, 15th Sep 2021

UK stocks had a flat open on Wednesday after a higher-than-expected inflation reading stoked concerns that interest rates will rise. At 0819, the benchmark FTSE 100 index had inched down 0.95 points to 7,033.11. The UK consumer price index rose 3.2% in August, up from 2.0% in July and above expectations of 2.9%. House builder Redrow fell 1.3% to 690.8p, even as it more than doubled its pre-tax annual profit to £314 million after construction markets bounced back as lockdowns eased. Redrow reinstated its final dividend at 18.5p per share, bringing the full-year payout to 24.5p, and reinstated its medium-term guidance. Its shares are still up 26% in the year to date. Oil company Tullow Oil gained 3.1% to 46.38p, having swung to a first-half profit, despite lower production hurting revenue, after it booked much smaller exploration write-off and impairment charges. Tullow Oil also narrowed its annual production guidance upwards to 58,000-to-61,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Wagamama-owner Restaurant Group was flat at 121.2p after posting a first-half loss as the pandemic continued to weigh on sales, though it upgraded annual guidance citing a recovery in demand since reopening. Restaurant Group's pre-tax losses for the 27 weeks to 4 July amounted to £58.8 million, narrowing from year-on-year losses of £234.7 million that included hefty asset writedowns. Premium mixers group Fever-Tree shed 0.8% to £21.21 despite reporting a rise in first-half profit buoyed by by a recovery in out-of-home sales at pubs and bars. Fever-Tree, which upped its interim dividend 2% to 5.52p per share, also reported on-going global logistics disruptions and cost pressures. Customer-review platform Trustpilot dropped 6.1% to 389p, having posted a deeper first-half loss owing to costs associated with its recent sharemarket listing. The fall, however, came as TrustPilot posted higher underlying earnings and upgraded its annual revenue guidance. Auto dealer Pendragon reversed 0.9% to 18.34p, even as it swung to a first-half profit after an easing of lockdowns helped fuel a recovery in demand. Pendragon said it was expecting a continued shortage of new and used vehicle supply for the remainder of the year, but stuck to its annual guidance. Banknote authentication group De La Rue added 1.8% to 188.4p on announcing plans to expand a factory in Malta, in a bid to increase the capacity for tax stamps and brand protection labels. De La Rue said the expansion would be delivered without exceeding an original total of £79.8 million investment outlined in its turnaround plan. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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