By Patrick Munnelly, Market Strategist, Tickmill
On Thursday, the FTSE 100, which is heavily reliant on exports from the UK, remained quiet as energy companies saw an increase in their stock prices due to the rise in crude oil prices. This helped to offset some of the overall market weakness. The FTSE 100 saw some small gains, closing the session on 7,453.75 points, up 0.41%, having reaching its lowest level since November 14 during the day.
On the positive side of the ledger Smurfit Kappa [LON:SKG], the European packaging company that agreed to acquire U.S. rival WestRock in a $11 billion deal in September, has reported tentative improvements in its German order books. These positive developments are seen as potential indicators for a return to volume growth. Following this news, Smurfit’s shares listed in Ireland saw a 2.4% increase. The company’s strategic move to acquire WestRock signals its ambitions in the global packaging industry, and any signs of improvement in order books are likely welcomed by investors, continued investor support for the takeover sees the firm sit at the top of the blue chip index gaining 4.74% on the session
On the negative side of the ledger the lacklustre earnings announcement from Severn Trent [LON:SVT] last week did not have a direct impact on the stock price. Severn Trent had issued shares during the year, leading to a situation where its earnings per share (EPS) performance lags behind its net income growth. This suggests that Severn Trent’s true underlying earnings power is actually less than its statutory profit. Unfortunately, the company’s EPS was down over the last twelve months, contributing to the overall assessment of its financial performance. Investors have started to reduce exposure leaving the utility at the bottom of the blue chip index today shedding 4.23% on the session.