FTSE recovers to trade flat as US stocks open higher

Thu, 29th Oct 2020

Amid relief that US equities were able to claw back some of the ground lost yesterday the FTSE 100 finished the day down a little more than a point at 5,581.75 . The S&P 500 was up 0.8% at 3,296.41 by 4.30pm UK time. Oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell's shares were up 3.3% to to 895.3p after it announced a new cash allocation programme designed to cut debt and boost its dividend. The company plans to increase its dividend for the third quarter of 2020 by 4% to 16.65 cents per share. It also plans to reduce its net debt position to $65 billion, down from $73.5 billion as of September 30, 2020. Lloyds Banking Group said it expected its annual impairment charge to be at the lower end of its guidance range, after it reported that Q3 pre-tax profit rose to £1.04 billion. The shares were up 3.1% to 28.51p. Telecoms giant BT raised its guidance after first-half profit fell by a fifth as revenue was hurt by the pandemic-led reduction in BT Sport revenue and business activity. For the half year to 30 September 2020, pre-tax profit fell 20% to just over £1 billion, as revenue fell 8% to £10.6 billion year-on-year. The group's shares surrendered earlier gains to trade 2% lower at 99.7p. Media company WPP recorded third-quarter revenue of just under £3 billion, down 9.8% compared to Q3 2019. The result brought the company's total revenue for the first nine months of 2020 to £8.6 billion, down by 11.5% on the same period in 2019. Shares were down 2.8% to 598p. Medical technology giant Smith & Nephew has reported revenue of $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2020, down 4.2% year-on-year on an underlying basis but a significant improvement on the second quarter's underlying revenue fall of 29.3%. The company's shares were down 2% to £13.58. Financial services company Standard Chartered reported a 12% drop in income to $3.5 billion for the third quarter amid the continuing ultra-low interest rate environment. Its stock price was down 7.2% to 346.7p. Professional services firm RPS Group reported a marginal increase in fee revenue in the third quarter compared to the second quarter amid 'pleasing signs of recovery'. Shares were down 0.2% to 50.4p. Kaz Minerals raised its guidance on silver and zinc production and said all metals were on track to achieve or exceed full-year production guidance despite a slip in quarterly silver and gold output in the third quarter. The company's share price ticked up by 0.3% To 630p. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

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