UK WINNERS & LOSERS SUMMARY: Diageo Rises On Upbeat Trading Outlook

(Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main London ...

Alliance News 28 September, 2020 | 10:57AM
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(Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main London indices on Monday.

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FTSE 100 - WINNERS

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Diageo, up 6.3%. The distiller said it has made a good start to financial 2021 with improvements in its performance across all regions following the gradual re-opening of the on-trade channels such as in bars and hotels in most markets. The Johnnie Walker scotch maker continues to expect an improvement in organic net sales and operating profit for first half ending December 31, versus the second half of financial 2020, which ended on June 30. However, compared to the first half of financial 2020 - the six months from July to December 2019 - it still expects lower organic net sales and margin dilution. Looking ahead, Diageo said the outlook for the first half of financial 2021 has improved since the year-end, reflecting the good start to the year, particularly for the US business.

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FTSE 100 - LOSERS

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Rolls-Royce Holdings, down 4.5%. The jet engine maker late on Friday said it noted continued media speculation regarding the possibility of undertaking a fundraising, but it said that no final decision had been taken. In addition, Moody's Investors Service on Friday downgraded Rolls-Royce's corporate family rating, offering a bleak outlook for the jet engine maker's balance sheet, should it not turn to fundraising.

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FTSE 250 - WINNERS

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Carnival, up 8.5%. Barclays, late Friday, upgraded the cruise line to Overweight from Equal Weight.

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Close Brothers, up 6.0%. Investec raised the merchant bank to Hold from Sell.

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FTSE 250 - LOSERS

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William Hill, down 11% at 278.10 pence. The bookmaker was giving back some gains from Friday after US casino operator Caesars Entertainment said it has made a possible cash offer for William Hill, which it said the board of the UK bookmaker would accept. The owner of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas confirmed it is in advanced discussions concerning a possible cash offer for William Hill, its partner in a US joint venture. The possible offer of 272 pence per share values William Hill at around GBP2.9 billion and is a 58% premium to William Hill's closing share price on September 1, the last business day before Caesars' first approach to William Hill. The high street bookmaker on Friday confirmed it had received separate cash proposals from New York-based investment manager Apollo Management International and Caesars. The stock ended up 43% on Friday. "Investors may also be hoping for a more generous offer, despite suggestions William Hill's board is minded to recommend the 272p on the table from Caesars, with some observers suggesting the price undervalues the long-term potential across the Atlantic," said AJ Bell's Russ Mould.

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OTHER MAIN MARKET AND AIM - WINNERS

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Origo Partners, up 13%. The closed-end investment firm reported a narrowed interim loss as efforts to unwind the company stalled amid the pandemic, but noted that investee Gobi Coal & Energy has taken steps towards a sale. The company reported a pretax loss of USD447,000 for the six months ended June 30, narrowed from a USD933,000 loss the year before due to lower administrative expenses and a loss on disposal the year before. Origo's administrative expenses reduced to USD436,000 from USD716,000. On top of this, the company reported no realised gains on losses on disposal of investments, after incurring USD210,000 of loss on disposal the year before.

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Surface Transforms, up 4.5%. The carbon fibre ceramic brake discs manufacturer posted a first half revenue surge and a narrowed interim loss. Revenue in the six months to June 30 was 55% higher year-on-year at GBP902,000 from GBP583,000. The company's pretax loss was largely flat year-on-year at GBP1.5 million. "During the period the company accelerated its progress to becoming a profitable mainstream automotive supplier of carbon ceramic brake discs. This continued progress was achieved against the most difficult economic and operational conditions in recent memory," the company said. Trading has been "better than expected", Surface Transforms said, and the company expects annual revenue of about GBP2.0 million, doubling from GBP1.0 million.

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OTHER MAIN MARKET AND AIM - LOSERS

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Avacta Group, down 4.8%. The cancer therapies developer posted a widened interim loss on increased research costs as it reported six months of "significant advancement". Revenue in the six months to June 30 was up 71% to GBP1.8 million from GBP1.1 million. Avacta's pretax loss stretched to GBP8.1 million from GBP6.6 million. Research costs rose 62% to GBP3.6 million from GBP2.2 million. Avacta also booked GBP1.4 million in share-based payment charges, up sharply from GBP119,000 a year earlier.

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By Arvind Bhunjun; arvindbhunjun@alliancenews.com

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