By Patrick Munnelly, Market Strategist, Tickmill
British equities started the day with slight gains on Tuesday, driven by a surge in the personal goods sector. However, as investors analysed economic data indicating a slowing UK economy, the blue-chip benchmark FTSE 100 which initially rose 0.1% later reversed to trade down 0.1% by the end of the day.
AB Foods expects ‘meaningful’ progress
On the positive side of the ledger Primark’s owner, Associated British Foods [LON:ABF], saw its shares surge by 6.8% to a more than two-year high of 2,250 pence, making it the second top percentage gainer on London’s FTSE 100 index.
The company has forecast “meaningful progress” in the new fiscal year, driven by a strong recovery in margins in its Primark fashion business and an improvement in its sugar business.
In addition, AB Foods reported an adjusted operating profit of £1.51 billion ($1.86 billion) for the year ending September 16, up from £1.44 billion the previous year. The company also announced an additional share buyback of £500 million.
This positive news was well received by investors, who had been concerned about the slow recovery of profit margins. AB Foods’ shares have risen by 41% year-to-date.
Beazley sees big increase in premiums
British insurer Beazley Group [LON:BEZ] saw its shares rise by 7.1%, making it the top percentage gainer on the FTSE 100 index.
The company reported a 9% increase in premiums written during the first nine months of the year, with steady demand in its cyber and property risks unit and higher policy rates contributing to the growth.
Beazley also stated that there was no impact from the Middle East conflict on its full-year results.
The stock has posted its largest single-day percentage gain in nearly three months, but it’s worth noting that Beazley’s stock was down by 22% year-to-date as of the last close.
Miners are the day’s biggest fallers
On the negative side of the ledger Anglo American [LON:AAL], Glencore [LON:GLEN], and Antofagasta [LON:ANTO] all saw declines, driven by concerns over China’s economic slowdown and escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. Anglo American retains the bottom spot of the blue chip index today with losses of 3.5% with Antofagasta and Glencore down 3.4% and 2.4% respectively.