FTSE 100 Falls, Led by Unilever After H1 Results

The FTSE 100 fell, led by Unilever after the consumer goods giant posted weaker first-half pre-tax profit. Unilever shares drop 4.4%. "An increase in raw material, packaging and distribution costs is an unwelcome development given the differing speeds of global economic recovery, and the overall pre-tax profit number has slipped by 3.6% due to a combination of cost and comparison factors," Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter says. A negative read-across from the results sends shares in sector peer Reckitt Benckiser down 1.6%. Meanwhile, 3i Group shares rise 3.8% after the investment manager posted an increase in its net asset value per share and a total return of 12.2% for the first quarter.

 
Companies News: 

DotDigital Group Expects to Beat FY 2021 Adjusted Earnings Views

Marketing-sofware company dotDigital Group PLC said Thursday that it expects adjusted earnings for fiscal 2021 to beat market forecasts after a strong finish to the year and that it intends to pay a final dividend.

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Volution Forecasts FY 2021 Earnings Ahead of Expectations

Volution Group PLC said Thursday that it expects to report earnings ahead of market expectations for the year ending July 31.

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Gusbourne Expects 1H Net Revenue Surge, to Explore GBP15 Mln Fundraising

Gusbourne PLC said Thursday that it expects a 59% rise in net revenue for the first half and will explore an equity fundraise of up to 15 million pounds ($20.6 million).

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Medica Sees Increasing Demand as Elective Procedures Recover

Medica Group PLC said Thursday that its first-half performance has been positive in the U.K. and Ireland against a backdrop of a sustained recovery in activity in diagnostic services.

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Judges Scientific Says 1H Orders, Sales Recovered

Judges Scientific PLC said Thursday that first-half orders and organic sales rose, reflecting an economic recovery in much of the world, and that it delivered strong profitability in each of the first six months of the year.

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JTC Reports Good 1H Momentum, Expects to Meet Full-Year Views

JTC PLC said Thursday that it performed well in the first half of the year despite macroeconomic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, and that it expects its full-year results to meet market expectations.

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Great Portland Estates Publishes Sustainable Finance Framework

Great Portland Estates PLC said Thursday that it has published a sustainable finance framework, for providing potential future debt instruments to projects that have a positive environmental or social effect.

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Strix Sees Strong Revenue Growth in 1H, Full Year

Strix Group PLC said Thursday that it expects significantly higher revenue in the first half of the year.

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Personal Group Says 1H Revenue Rose; Business Is in Line With Views

Personal Group Holdings PLC said Thursday that revenue for the first half of 2021 rose, and that it is trading in line with management's expectations.

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Breedon Swung to 1H Pretax Profit, Declares First Dividend

Breedon Group PLC said Thursday that it swung to a pretax profit in the first six months of the year and declared its maiden dividend.

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KRM22 Expects Flat 1H Adjusted Loss, Lower Revenue

KRM22 PLC said Thursday that it expects to report a stable adjusted loss and lower revenue for the first half of 2021.

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Restore Shares Jump on GBP743 Mln Takeover Approach by Marlowe -- Update

Shares of Restore PLC rose in early trade Thursday after Marlowe PLC said it made a 743 million pound ($1.02 billion) cash-and-share offer approach to the information and data-management services provider, which was rejected.

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VP Says It is Performing in Line With Expectations

VP PLC said Thursday that it is performing in line with expectations.

 
Market Talk: 

Unilever's 1H Raises More Questions Than Answers, Citi Says

0755 GMT - Unilever's sales boost in 2Q isn't enough to answer concerns around the group's future, according to Citi. The consumer-goods producer delivered an organic sales growth of 5.0% on year, beating a company-compiled consensus of 4.8%, Citi says. Still, rising costs remain a drag, it says. "The cut in full-year margin guidance, due to cost inflation, may reignite the debate on the likelihood of advertisement and promotion cut in the second half to protect margins [...] the first half brings more questions than answers on the company's ability to navigate the inflationary cycle without making painful trade-offs," the U.S. bank says. Citi has a buy rating on the stock and a target price of GBP51.

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Unilever Seen as Solid Despite Struggling Stock

0746 GMT - Unilever shares continue to struggle but the group's fundamentals remain solid, according to Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter. The consumer-goods producer hosts many strong brands and has experienced mixed results as different economies recover at different speeds from the pandemic, Hunter says. Specifically, increasing raw material, packaging and distribution costs represent an unwelcome development given the differing speeds, he says, adding that progress Unilever has made during the pandemic has been slowed by these pressures. "Over the last year the shares have dipped by 1%, as compared to a rise of 12.7% for the wider FTSE 100," Hunter says. Still, market consensus remained a cautious, reflecting the power of the group and the diversity of its products and geographies, the analyst says.

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Pound Could Rise After ECB Decision Before Focus Turns to UK Data

0733 GMT - The euro could edge lower against the pound, providing some support to the sterling-dollar exchange rate, if the European Central Bank signals it won't scale back stimulus any time soon at Thursday's meeting, Rabobank says. "That said, for GBP to push back more noticeably against USD strength, Friday's UK retail sales data will likely have to surprise on the upside," Rabobank's Jane Foley says. The consensus forecast is for retail sales to drop 0.1% in June compared to a month ago after falling 1.4% in May, she says. Friday's flash U.K. services and manufacturing purchasing managers' index surveys could also be directional for the pound, she says. The ECB's policy decision is at 1145 GMT. EUR/GBP falls 0.3% to 0.8582.

 

Contact: London NewsPlus, Dow Jones Newswires; paul.larkins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 22, 2021 04:32 ET (08:32 GMT)

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